A POST office in Blackbird Leys which closed earlier this month needs to be revived according to locals.

The Post Office used to have a counter at Martin McColl’s newsagents at the estate’s top shops on Blackbird Leys Road.

But when the newsagents closed earlier this month, the postal desk also disappeared, and the nearest Post Office available is now at Balfour Road to the north of the estate.

A petition started by the local councillor for Blackbird Leys, Linda Smith, is calling for the Post Office to reinstate the postal counter at another local shop on the same row where the newsagents used to be.

In her petition, which has been signed by more than 200 people, Ms Smith explained the need for a local postal counter.

She said: “The post office counter provided a range of valued services for local people and contributed to the vibrancy and economic vitality of the shopping parade.”

The petition also added there had been ‘mixed messages’ from the Post Office about providing a replacement, on one occasion committing to a new counter, the next saying it might not be possible.

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Speaking to the Oxford Mail, Ms Smith added that since the local service had been lost, elderly and disabled people faced having to travel longer to use a Post Office, or not go at all.

She added: “If residents are left without a Post Office it will take something away from the vitality of the shops and the economic viability of them: It is an anchor, an institution that brings people out to use the other shops.”

Her fellow councillor for Northfield Brook, Sian Taylor, said she was worried about the ‘erosion of local services’ in neighbourhoods of Oxford, and added that people had experienced longer queues at Balfour Road Post Office since the top shops counter had closed.

Manoj Rajgor, the owner of Nisa Deltey’s, a grocery shop at the top shops, said he had applied to take on the post office desk.

Mr Rajgor said: “I told them I could find space in my store and squeeze a small counter in there: It would help the community and my customers and would be beneficial for me too.”


Blackbird Leys councillor Linda Smith and Nisa shop owner Manoj Rajgor, who wants to take on the post office. Picture: Linda Smith

And Oxford East’s MP Anneliese Dodds has also put pressure on the Post Office to reinstate the local service.

Labour MP Ms Dodds said: “The local post office is an important community asset and I am concerned that the lack of a post office will mean vulnerable residents and residents with mobility issues will struggle to access post office services.

“I have written to Post Office Ltd to ask that they urgently look for new premises for the Post Office and I am supporting local Labour Councillors’ calls and petition to maintain a post office counter presence in the area.”

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But a spokesman for the Post Office said it could not commit to reopening the counter at the moment.

They said: “Blackbird Leys Post Office closed temporarily on September 7 as McColl’s, which operated this branch, made the difficult decision to close their shop. The vacancy is advertised and in the interim alternative branches include Balfour Road and Cowley Centre.“Due to the effects of coronavirus on retail businesses, the UK high street remains a challenging environment in which to operate.

“We want to make sure our customers can access our quality services and products across our network and while we will always look to reopen branches when they close, we cannot commit to doing so in every case at this time. We will continue to review this position.”