DC Casebook: Housing: Conversion - Inspector takes long view on post office

The residential conversion of a post office in a Dorset village has been rejected after an inspector decided that it would entail the loss of an ideally located community asset.

The property comprised a shop, a post office kiosk and storage rooms on the ground floor and a self-contained two-bedroom flat upstairs. The appellant proposed to convert it to a three-bedroom house. He produced extensive evidence to demonstrate that the profitability of the business was in decline and that the property had been marketed over a lengthy period without success.

The inspector recognised that uncertainty over post office closures meant the business was no longer considered marketable. In his view, however, the property's potential to accommodate a profitable business serving the local community was obvious once the present economic imbalance of supermarket dominance and cheap fuel has run its course.

He acknowledged that village residents had shown remarkably little concern about the prospect of losing a vital community facility. However, he considered that retention of the use of the ground floor as a shop, whether or not it remained a post office, would be in the long-term interests of the rural community.

DCS Number 100-068-986

Inspector Christopher Gethin; Written representations.

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