A rural community in one of Yorkshire most popular coastal destinations looks set to lose its last Post Office, to the dismay of despairing residents.
The historic village of Staithes, famed as the boyhood home of Captain James Cook, has seen its Post Office closed since October as its owners retired.
Now, after they struggled to find a buyer, plans are to be considered to convert it into a house and holiday cottages.
“Everybody is desperately sad,” said neighbour Heather Holliday, 65, who runs Paul’s convenience store on the same street.
“The closest Post Office is now in a Hinderwell pub. There are older people who just can’t get there.”
Members of the North York Moors National Park Authority’s planning committee are being told by retail consultants, Sanderson Wetherall, that despite extensive marketing of the site there have been no takers for the Green Bank Stores and Post Office and that the business does not have a sustainable future as a retail unit.
The committee is being recommended by officers to give approval to Richard and Pamela Blakeley of Marske-by-the-Sea, the owners, for the business to be converted despite objections from residents.
They say that the harbourside area of Staithes - once one of the North East’s leading fishing ports - now consists mainly of holiday cottages and they fear the top side of the village could follow.
“We don’t want any more holiday cottages,” said Mrs Holliday. “We want a Post Office.
“People won’t come to Staithes if there’s nothing to come to.”
A Post Office spokesperson said: “We would like to assure customers that we are currently investigating the options available which will enable us to reinstate a Post Office service to the local community.
“Future provision will reflect customer numbers and usage and we may take the opportunity to establish an alternative type of service. This may mean introducing a hosted outreach Post Office service.”
Planning officers have said that the nearest post office is a mile away at Hinderwell and most of the products sold at the village store and post office are available at a Co-operative store in the village.