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Norfolk village post office saved

PUBLISHED: 06:49 29 September 2009 | UPDATED: 08:36 01 August 2010

David and Hayley Haines at Thurlton Post Office.

David and Hayley Haines at Thurlton Post Office.

A village post office that was under threat from closure has been saved after a couple stepped in with ambitious plans to overhaul the business and create a thriving community hub.

A village post office that was under threat from closure has been saved after a couple stepped in with ambitious plans to overhaul the business and create a thriving community hub.

David and Hayley Haines took on the lease at Thurlton post office, near Loddon, after the premises came within 24 hours of closure.

Mrs Haines is now training to become the sub post mistress and the couple have reopened the general store and plan to sell a variety of fresh produce.

The pair have also submitted plans to South Norfolk Council to run a coffee shop at the premises.

Mr Haines leases space to a hairdressers next door and may also get a beautician to operate inside the building.

He said the couple had decided to call their new venture The Hub to reflect its place at the heart of the community.

“The post office came within 24 hours of closure back in July as the owner couldn't afford to run it any more,” said Mr Haines.

“A community trust was in the process of being formed, but it was going to need to raise a lot of money to buy it. I went to the owner and said 'why don't I lease it from you?' and he agreed.

“Now my wife is training to be the sub post mistress and I am going to move my design and marketing agency in here. We have also reinstated the shop.

“We are right in the centre of the village and I want it to have a traditional feel. I would like to have a Saturday morning indoor fruit and veg market selling local produce and a butchers. We are possibly going to get a beauticians in and we want to open a coffee shop too.”

Mr Haines said there was tremendous support in the village to save the post office. “This is a fresh start with new faces,” he said. “We are trying to give the community what they want and we have had a lot of support from the village.”

The couple held a Macmillan coffee morning on Saturday and were delighted with the turn out.

Mrs Haines said: “We went to the meeting to save the post office by accident really, but I realised its potential. We are trying to go back to the old way of doing things. I want the elderly ladies who come in for their pensions to be able to sit down and have a nice cup of coffee or tea and a chat. I am also going to make cakes and sandwiches and lunches and soups.”

t The vicar of a village which has been left without a post office after it shut suddenly without notice has led calls for answers a week after the closure.

Spixworth Post Office closed its doors early last Tuesday afternoon without an explanation and today Reverend Andrew Beane, vicar of Spixworth, Crostwick, and Horsham St Faiths, has called for an explanation as to why Spixworth is still without a post office.

“The community in Spixworth want to know what's happening - people don't know why it's closed,” said Rev Beane.

A Post Office spokeswoman said: “We're very sorry that this post office has temporarily closed for reasons beyond our control and we are working hard to find a solution as we are committed to continue providing post office services to our customers in the area."

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