THE future of Minehead’s last remaining Post Office hung in the balance this week after plans were formally submitted to redevelop the building.

The Post Office is currently housed in the Co-op supermarket in The Avenue, but will close if McCarthy Stone wins planning permission to build 35 retirement apartments on the site.

The plans involve demolishing the supermarket and adjacent shops and building a block of flats and a smaller Co-op store in their place.

The current Post Office operator resigned after the Co-op gave notice last year that the business would have to go once the store shut.

And efforts to recruit a new postmaster have so far proven unsuccessful.

Alcombe Post Office closed six months ago after almost a century of serving the community, and the next-nearest branches for Minehead’s 11,700 residents are in the villages of Dunster and Allerford.

However, neither offer services such as passport renewals, vehicle tax, or foreign currency.

The McCarthy Stone development will take about 18 months to complete, during which time the Co-op will be closed, and when it returns the new store is likely to be too small for a Post Office.

West Somerset MP Ian Liddell-Grainger is seeking a meeting with the Post Office to learn of any progress in finding alternative premises and a new postmaster.

Mr Liddell-Grainger said: “I raised the matter of a replacement Post Office facility when this development was first unveiled, and clearly with the Alcombe office having closed since then, the issue has become really urgent.”

A Post Office spokesperson told the Free Press: “The date for the closure of the Post Office is still being finalised.

“We know how important a Post Office is to this community and the vacancy is advertised on

“We are keen to hear from interested local retailers.”

Minehead town councillors have been concerned for some time over the impending loss of The Avenue Post Office.

A council spokesperson said: “While the future location is still to be determined, we recognise how essential Post Office services are for Minehead residents.

“The Post Office is currently seeking interested parties to take over Post Office operations within the town.

“Our view is that a community the size of Minehead requires a permanent Post Office presence, and therefore we are happy to work proactively with the Post Office and other stakeholders to try to ensure continuity of this vital service for our residents.”

A Co-op spokesperson said a rolling notice period coinciding with the supermarket’s closure had been served on the Post Office, but refused to confirm if the store would trade in other premises once the site redevelopment began, or if a Post Office would be accommodated.

The spokesperson said: “The store and Post Office will continue to trade as normal until the outcome of McCarthy Stone’s planning application is known.”

Last year, West Somerset also lost Post Offices in Watchet, Carhampton, Exford, Lydeard St Lawrence, and Winsford, while those in Williton and Nether Stowey were put up for sale.