The Crown Post Office in Rye Lane could be forced to close because of a developer’s plans to build six flats above its shop front.
An application was submitted to Southwark Council by Allview Estates Ltd in May last year to build three two-bedroom and three one-bedroom apartments above the Post Office.
But a Post Office spokeswoman said although the developer wants the post office to stay in the ground floor, the Post Office could still be forced under while waiting for building work to finish. The reconstruction of the shop front and floors one to three could take over twelve months. To stay in business the Post Office would need to leave its home in Rye Lane altogether, and instead find a franchise partner to move in with.
The spokeswoman said: “We are proposing to close the Rye Lane Crown Post Office branch, subject to public consultation.”
She added that the area is already “well served” by post offices with five others within a 1.6-mile radius, which have the capacity to absorb extra business.
“We are also advertising to see if there is any interest from a local retailer to open a Post Office, to supplement the area’s services,” she said.
“We have explained the situation to the staff and that the broad options available to them will be potential redeployment within the company or voluntary redundancy.”
The News understands that before Allview Estates applied for this development they had already made an application to demolish the building entirely. The council rejected this application, but the decision is due to be appealed by Allview.
Eileen Conn of community group Peckham Vision said locals “would be shocked” to hear about its closure.
“We certainly need a large Post Office facility in south Rye Lane, there are always long queues. It is an important trading centre,” Eileen said.
“A lot of people would be shocked to hear it might close. They say there are five branches within a 1.6 miles radius from that post office. But that is a long way on foot. What’s more relevant is how many are there within a 5-10 minute walk?”