Gillingham’s Hight Street Post Office branch could be bought and run by the local community, it has emerged.
The Gillingham Community Land Trust (CLT) – a non-for-profit trust set up to help provide affordable homes – says it has been approached about the possibility of taking over the lease of the High Street branch which is for sale.
It is understood a group of local residents made the move because they are worried about the long-term future of the branch, which is seen as a key business on the High Street.
If the CLT were to undertake the project it would probably involve members of the community buying shares in the shop and this being used to fund the purchase.
No figure has been put on the likely purchase price but it is likely to be around £30,000 plus legal fees.
Barry Von Clemens, the mayor, who is a director of Gillingham CLT, told Gillingham News that such a project could only work if the public were prepared to get involved and help fund it to keep the Post Office open.
It would also need volunteers to run the shop.
He said: ‘The Gillingham CLT believes that it is vital for our community to have a Post Office service on our High Street and to this effect the board will look very closely at this to see if it is a viable project that we would be able to proceed with.
‘The main thing is that we are a community group and we need the community’s support and backing if we were to proceed.’
Were the scheme to go ahead the Post Office would continue to run the postal side of the business.
The branch closed for a month in the summer of 2019 and even then the current lease owner and postmistress Sally Graham said she was looking to sell the business.
‘People can simply say if they would support this project and, without making any commitment, whether they would be willing to invest in community shares if they were to be issued,’ he said.
‘Then hopefully we can judge if this is something we would be able to take forward.’