A heavenly spot for a new post office?
St Mary's church in Newton Flotman near Norwich may come to the rescue of its local community with an innovative plan to host the village sub post office and shop in the church building after the previous one recently closed down. But first they need to find the right person to run it. Rev Sally Gaze reports.
Newton Flotman is a village of some 1200 people situated south of Norwich. In February 2006, the Post Ofice and only shop in Newton Flotman closed down and hopes of it reopening again on the present site have broken down.
So St Mary's Church began to investigate whether they could host this community facility in the church premises. The church is in many ways in an ideal location, being close to the village primary school and clearly visible from the main A140 road passing through the village.
The wardens visited the church at Sheepy Magna in Leicestershire where the PCC describe the satellite post office in their church as "the best thing which ever happened to us." Some provisional plans have been drawn up and informal consultation shows that permission is likely to be granted for a suitable adaptation of St Mary's church tower.
The vision of the PCC is for a full subpost office and accompanying small business such as the village shop to be situated in the church premises. The subpostmaster would run this as their own business, leasing the premises from the church. The PCC would charge a minimal lease based on the additional costs to the PCC of insurance, heating, depreciation etc but would not make a profit.
The advantage to the church of hosting the post office business is the opportunity to offer a place for people to meet and community to be built around the church premises.
The post office however do not secure future contracts with a particular premises but with the subpostmaster - so, the PCC need to find a prospective subpostmaster to work in partnership with us before we can move forward with building work.
The role would suit a community-minded Christian who would enjoy combining their own small business with the opportunity to serve a village community.
The PCC are seeking someone who would:
1) Work with the Parochial Church Council and Post Office Ltd to draw up plans for a Post Office and Shop to be based in Newton Flotman Church.
2) Will apply to the Post Office to be Subpostmaster.
3) Will lease the Post Office and Shop from the Parochial Church Council, once permission for the building work has been granted
The selection of this person will be a fully open process and would invite applicants to contact Sally Gaze at the address above and submit their CV and business plan before interviews in late June/ early July.
To find out more contact Rev Sally Gaze, The Rectory, Church Road, Newton Flotman, Norfolk NR15 1QB firstname.lastname@example.org 01508 470762
Pictured, top, Newton Flotman church and, above, Rev Sally Gaze.