ANOTHER West Somerset community could lose its Post Office after retiring postmaster Colin Penny was unable to sell the business.

So, Mr Penny has instead applied for planning permission to convert his three-storey Post Office and shop premises to a house.

Planning agent Lyndon Brett said it would not involve any changes to the outside of the property at the junction of Castle Street and Lime Street, Nether Stowey.

Mr Brett, of Bridgwater-based Lyndon Brett Partnership, said the business had been on the market for several years.

Regional and national business agents had tried to cast the market and exploit the sale process across the widest field of market spread but without success.

Mr Brett said: “We have been involved directly for 18 months-plus and are supported with national agency Humberstones.

“Despite numerous price reductions, we have been unable to secure a purchaser for the business.”

Currently, the property was being advertised for £480,000.

Mr Brett said many enterprises in small villages were similarly affected when there were not enough people to generate volumes of business to support them.

Over the years, Mr Penny had tried to diversify and broaden the scope and trading levels of the retail store by embracing the Post Office use, introducing a café, and a parcel hub collection and despatch for Amazon.

But they had not been sufficient to support Mr Penny’s business as a sound financial venture, to continue from its location.

Mr Brett said the Covid pandemic years had not helped, because although some benefits were experienced in the early days, customers reverted to supermarket deliveries and online ordering, the regularity and ease of which had made a huge dent in business confidence.

He said the premises was surrounded by an array of mixed purpose buildings, including commercial and residential.

Mr Brett said it would be ‘a positive repurposing’ of the existing built environment around the Quantock Stores footprint, with the village’s conservation area and its historical architecture unaffected.

Parish council clerk Caroline Slaymaker said councillors supported Mr Penny’s application because they recognised the business was no longer viable and the proposed alterations would make good use of the building.

Mrs Slaymaker said it was noted the change of use from commercial to private dwelling might decrease the amount of associated traffic, given there would no longer be commercial deliveries and parking by residents using the Post Office facilities.

Somerset Council, which will determine the application, is asking for any public comments to be submitted by May 4.

The next closest Post Office for Nether Stowey residents is in Kilve, which was saved last October by Washford postmaster Neil Scofield, although the shop premises in which it is housed is currently for sale for £645,000 through Christie and Co.

Further to the west, the village Post Office and retail shop in Williton has been up for sale since last autumn, also with Humberstones, for £495,000 for the freehold building and £40,000 for a 10-year lease of the lock-up business.