A Derbyshire newsagent is set to be the first retailer to run a mobile post office across four counties, making it the largest area covered in England.
Jag Aytain, of Linton Post Office, in South Derbyshire plans to start the service next month, covering 15 locations across Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Staffordshire and the West Midlands.
“It’s brilliant. We’ll be bringing a vital service to communities who have had no post office for eight or nine years. It’s taken months of planning,” said Mr Aytain.
The plans are subject to a six-week consultation, however Mr Aytain said the response from local authorities and the public has been overwhelmingly positive so far.
“The van has a post office counter and room for sweets and stationery as well as steps and wheelchair access,” said Mr Aytain. He added that while the service wouldn’t necessarily bring extra footfall to his store, it would cement him as a vital part of the community.
Mr Aytain will employ staff to run the van, which will typically visit each community for between one and two hours each week. He has also been working closely with parish councils to pinpoint carparks and council premises where the van will be housed.
The mobile vans were introduced by the Post Office in 2016 and, by the end of this year, there will be 60 vans operating nationwide.
Mr Aytain’s mobile service will be covering the largest number of counties in England, matched by Boneath mobile post office in Wales, which also travels to locations in four counties.
A Post Office spokeswoman said: “This mobile van enables Post Office services to be provided to communities which would not otherwise receive them; for local communities, especially those in remote or rural locations, the Post Office is a lifeline.”