Shoppers and traders in Arnold are divided over whether the arrival of the Post Office in a key unit at the town’s new market development will be enough to help kick start the local economy.
Gedling Borough Council has confirmed the company aims to take on a 10 year lease when the new AMP market opens later this year.
The £4m development project, which was initially planned for a spring opening before Covid-related delays, is in the final stages of construction and is expected to be finished at the end of August.
A café bar has already been confirmed for one of the spaces, while Gedling Borough Council has now approved the lease for the Post Office to take up a large space on the ground floor.
The deal was green-lit by Councillor John Clarke (Lab), leader of the council, during a delegated decision last week, with the council believing the Post Office’s arrival will secure a promising future for the market.
In a report published ahead of the decision, Emma Wimble, property services manager, said: “[This] provides the council with the opportunity to secure an anchor tenant with strong covenant whilst also retaining a Post Office presence in the town.
“There are significant advantages of securing this tenant for the AMP. [It] will assist with the smaller start-up units on-site and may be seen as a selling point for other tenants.
“Bringing the tenant into the AMP will be seen as benefit to the residents of Arnold and increasing footfall.”
She adds a Post Office based on the outskirts of the town centre will close its doors and relocate under the 10-year lease.
The closest Post Office to the high street is on Worrall Avenue, with papers confirming the company’s existing building would likely be converted back into residential use.
The move would also be the first time the Post Office has opened a new larger retail store in a Nottinghamshire high street for several years.
At least two major Nottinghamshire Post Office branches have downsized in recent years. Nottingham’s Post Office on Queen Street and Mansfield’s former Church Street store both relocated to operate inside nearby WH Smith shops.
However, people in Arnold were unsure whether the Post Office would be enough to make the market a success.
Sue Bell, 74, who was shopping in the town centre on Monday (July 25), told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “It’s been a bit of a waste of time because it should have opened in April.
“Are they going to get it filled with the right businesses? We want a nice restaurant or something different, a lot of shops in Arnold are closing down.
“The Post Office might help it; it just depends on the other businesses in there.”
Robert Walster, 54, who was also shopping in the town, believes the Post Office would be a good addition but can’t see the market “doing anything for Arnold”.
He said: “If you’ve got the Post Office there, you know you’re going to guarantee people will be using it.
“But it’s taking forever to be built and it depends on other tenants there. They’re planning on putting another café bar in there – there’s load in Arnold.
“I think it needs an electrical store or something different. I can’t see it doing anything for Arnold.”
Jo Morris, 49, who works at the Stoppard’s deli on Front Street, was also sceptical about whether the market will make a difference to the town.
“There’s a lot of empty units in Arnold already – mainly at the other end of the town,” she said.
“The Post Office might help but most areas in town already have their own small one anyway.”
However, Dean Cotton, 31, who lives on Coppice Road, believes the Post Office will make the market “more appealing” to traders.
He said: “I’m excited by the market, I think it’s got potential to be good.
“I always go to the Sneinton Market because it’s got a lot to offer and I hope Arnold is the same, the Post Office will definitely make it more appealing.”
Cllr Michael Payne (Lab), deputy leader of the council, previously said he believes the market will “breathe new life” into Arnold.
The project will create about 40 new jobs through business employment and construction of the market building.