A COMMUNITY is set to lose its Post Office in a row over rent between a landlord and a newsagent.
Mile Lane News in Bury, which also houses a Post Office, is set to move on Christmas Day when its lease expires, because the owner says the rent has continued to rise, and he can no longer afford to stay there.
Steven Blakelock, who owns the newsagent on the Seddons Farm estate, will move to a shop in Colville Drive about half-a-mile away.
But because he has been told by the Post Office the new site is not suitable, Mr Blakelock will only move his newsagents.
However, joint-landlords Stephen Latimer, of Latimer Lee solicitors, and Dr Kumar Kotegaonkar, say the ball was in Mr Blakelock’s court, and that he has been “messing about” for the past few years during discussions.
Mr Blakelock said: “They are doing a dirty trick to get us out.
“Because we have been fighting them, they have been very difficult and awkward to work with. We have been fighting the lease for about 10 years now.”
Mr Latimer said: “We have no desire to see the Post Office closed. That is entirely in the hands of the tenant. If he wants to talk about a new lease then we are willing to listen.
“We want to see the parade enhanced and improve the facilities there, but we can’t do this without the co-operation of existing tenants.”
The newsagent has been in the Blakelock family for 39 years, as Steven inherited the business from his uncle David, who took it on from his father.
One post office customer, who declined to be named, said the shops were vital for residents.
She said: “Without doubt, this row of shops is the hub of Seddons Farm.
“It really is. All parents use it when their children are at school as well as the elderly from the estate.
“The nearest Post Office is in Ainsworth Road which is more than a mile away and which will be very inconvenient for those who don’t have cars.”
Cllr Sue Nuttall said that it was proving a contentious issue with residents, as seen when a recent local councillor surgery was one of the best attended for many months.
She said: “I understand people are concerned because they are seeing their local shopping area being decimated at the moment.
“But I think a lot of people have got themselves into a bit of a tizz about it, although we really don’t know what will happen ultimately.”