Renewed threat to post office after grant ends

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THE postmaster who runs one of two Sheffield post office branches restored with council funding has warned it could close once the grant runs out.

Mark Taylor, who runs the reopened Nether Green branch at Shelley’s Deli, on Oakbrook Road, says not enough people are using the facility.

But Sheffield Council has said it no longer has sufficient funding to provide a further handout.

Concern about the future of the branch, reopened almost two years ago along with one at the Red Convenience Store, on Ecclesall Road South, Parkhead, was raised by Deputy Prime Minister and Hallam MP Nick Clegg.

Mr Clegg urged people to ‘use or lose’ both branches and visited the Nether Green site, near to his constituency office, to show his support.

Mr Taylor, who also runs Broomhill Post Office, said: “We have signed an agreement with Shelley’s Deli to remain open until March next year, when the council funding runs out.

“However, we aren’t making enough from customers’ transactions to cover the running costs.

“We would like the council subsidy to continue – although we appreciate the authority is facing very difficult times.

“If not, the branch may have to close.”

Mr Taylor said he does not have enough money to fund extended opening hours – which some residents say would make them use the branch more.

It is currently only open on weekday mornings.

Nether Green post office has received around £30,000 of £130,000 provided by the council to reopen post office branches after 15 were closed in 2008.

But Sheffield Council’s current cabinet member for finance, Coun Bryan Lodge, said: “It is a very difficult decision to make.

“The council tried to support the branches but the funding was time-limited to allow the branches to become self-sufficient. We cannot afford to continue subsidising businesses losing money.”

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