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Local traders support off-licence's post office push
Traders are backing an application to have a new post office set up in St Albans saying it will help their businesses.
Gokham Saglam, who manages Victoria Off Licence, is trying to set up a post office in his store to replace one that was closed down five years ago.
Although his original application was turned down four months ago, the 28-year-old is hoping that support from neighbouring businesses will convince the Post Office to let him open a new branch.
He said: "The services it would offer would be a great help to businesses in this street.
"More and more people are coming in and asking for Post Offices services.
"It is what we want and what we need.
"There is something missing for the public."
Nicolas Camp, who works in Mr Computer on Victoria Street, believes that having Post Office services so close with help the shop.
He said: "We have a lot of goods coming in and going out.
"It will save us going all the way to town.
"We can pay for things to be delivered but it adds to the costs for customers."
Residents and traders used to be able to use a Post Office just around the corner in Beaconsfield Road before it closed down.
Kelly Ellis, a butcher on the busy road, said: "When we used to have a post office here it was marvellous.
"It was so easy."
Mr Saglam added: "It is difficult for people to walk to the city centre for a post office. For elderly people it has become a nightmare."
The Post Office turned down the previous application as it did not believe that there was enough need for it in the area.
However Mr Saglam believes that commuters using St Albans City Station and residents on the new nearby Charrington Place housing development will mean lots of potential customers.
He said: "The old post office was out of the way and it still got business.
"I’ve been turned down but I’m still not giving up.
"It was like a brick wall falling on me when it was turned down to be honest.
"If there wasn’t a need I wouldn’t be pushing.
"It will be good for us and good for the community."
Since launching his latest application Mr Saglam’s customers have shown their support for the idea.
He said: "People have been very positive.
"Everyone wants it. It is something good."
Councillor Michael Green, the Liberal Democrat representative for the area, said: "I am very much in support of the application.
"It will be good for people who use the main Post Office in town because the queues will be shorter."
St Albans’ MP Anne Main has also shown her support and written to the Post Office to ask it to consider the application again.
A Post Office spokesperson said: "When receiving a request to open a new Post Office branch, we have to consider a wide range of factors including ability of the existing network to cope with customer demand, the impact that this would have on the business levels at the adjacent network of Post Offices, and if the extra branch would generate enough business to be financially viable for both Post Office Ltd and the operator.
"There are four Post Office branches within 1 mile of Mr Saglam's off licence and another branch just over 1 mile away so at the moment we have no plans to open an additional Post Office in the AL1 postcode area.
"We have Mr Saglam's details on file should the situation change or a vacancy in the area arise."