Shop owner will take on village Post Office

PUBLISHED: 06:36 27 July 2006 | UPDATED: 09:45 31 May 2010

Yakub Alibhai prepares to open a Post Office counter - Pic: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Yakub Alibhai prepares to open a Post Office counter - Pic: SARAH LUCY BROWN

STANSTED will have a Post Office for the first time in three years when Yakub Alibhai opens his counter in Y and Z Mini Market on Monday, September 4. The local businessman, who has run his grocery shop in Chapel Hill for more than 25 years, decided he wo

Yakub Alibhai prepares to open a Post Office counter - Pic: SARAH LUCY BROWN

STANSTED will have a Post Office for the first time in three years when Yakub Alibhai opens his counter in Y and Z Mini Market on Monday, September 4.

The local businessman, who has run his grocery shop in Chapel Hill for more than 25 years, decided he would have a Post Office counter in his shop to save elderly residents having to travel to Elsenham or Bishop's Stortford to send parcels, pay bills and pick up their pensions.

Mr Alibhai said: "I am very happy with the news that I can open a Post Office counter.

"I am truly as happy as I have ever been because this service will save elderly and disabled people a lot of trouble and money.

"It uses up a lot of energy and money if you have to travel far away just to collect a parcel or collect your pension, so the new counter will save people a lot of inconvenience - it really is a dream come true."

Stansted's last branch, which was also in Chapel Hill, closed in June 2003 following a robbery in which £10,000 was stolen from the safe, along with pension books, vehicle excise licenses and mobile phone top-up cards.

Mr Alibhai is confident that he will not suffer the same fate and is in the process of installing CCTV cameras and panic buttons to protect his staff.

"The cameras and the panic buttons will make the shop safe and they will be installed and ready by the time the counter opens in September," he said.

"I am also installing a ramp at the shop entrance to allow easier access for wheelchair users."

Uttlesford District Cllr Alan Dean approached Mr Alibhai earlier in the year in the hope that he would agree to manage the Post Office.

"I think at Y and Z we have a postmaster who not only is a good businessman, but who also has a social conscience and wants to do something for the Stansted community by giving us back our Post Office," he said.

MP Sir Alan Haselhurst has also welcomed the news.

He said: "It is very satisfying that an agreement to reopen the Post Office is now in place, and I hope that it will be well patronised."

A Post Office spokesman apologised for the extended closure of the Post Office and hoped people would be pleased with the new counter.

"We would like to apologise to our loyal customers in Stansted, but we are delighted to be able to restore convenient local access to Post Office services," he said.

"We are sure customers will be pleased when the new branch opens and will support our agent in their new venture."

The Post Office will be open between 9am and 5.30pm on weekdays, and from 9am until 12.30pm on Saturdays.

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