A BUSINESSMAN has stepped in to save Taunton‘s main post office for the community.
The post office, currently in the former County Stores, in North Street, is being relocated to a temporary home later this month.
It will operate from a unit in Canon Street, on the corner of St James Street, from Friday, October 22, into early next year.
Mr Hawkins, who owns both buildings, is footing the substantial costs of fitting out the unit with carpets, inside and outside lighting, painting, and signage, as well as covering the relocation costs.
He said: “The post office was in real danger of closing.
“The Post Office said if they had to pay those costs, it would close.
“I decided to pick up the bill to save Taunton’s main post office for the community.”
Mr Hawkins is converting the former County Stores building into a car and motorbike museum and work is set to start shortly on the rear downstairs area where the post office is currently housed.
When it opens, the museum will feature up to 100 classic cars from the 1960s to the early 1990s.
There will also be 150 classic and vintage motorbikes around the two-storey building.
Subpostmaster Mikesh Parekh, who operates around 40 branches across the UK, said: “We can’t continue to run the post office in the location it’s in at the moment.
“The temporary location in Canon Street is better for parking, but it’s only going to be until we find a more suitable location. That’s not going to be any time soon though, particularly being so close to Christmas.
“It was either going to close or we had to put it in the unit in Canon Street.
“We’re desperate to find a suitable permanent home in Taunton. I won’t let it shut.”
Taunton Post Office has been located in the former County Stores since it closed its previous premises just down the road at the start of 2014 – that building is now occupied by the Ask Italian restaurant.
We have approached the Post Office for a comment.