Subpostmaster could be made homeless with Chelsfield post office facing closure

Meadway Post Office

Meadway Post Office

First published in News
Last updated
News Shopper: Photograph of the Author by , reporter

A post office in Chelsfield may close after the subpostmaster was been asked to leave the premises.

Dennis Penny, who has been running Meadway post office in Winsdor Drive for 12 years, was served a possession order for the property yesterday (June 18).

The 67-year-old said he was unable to negotiate a lease extension with the landlord and he and his wife now face being made homeless, with eviction imminent.

He feels the business is tenable and fails to understand why an agreement could not be made. 

Mr Penny told News Shopper: “We’re a viable post office – the whole thing is an absolute farce.

“We’re closing in spite of every effort to stay open. We provide a service for local people.

“Nothing seems to make sense – I’ve been trying for eight months to negotiate a new lease. I’ve had very little contact from the landlord, Bromley Council, or the Post Office.”

Mr Penny said he was only given the option of a five-year extension, without any chance to discuss the possibility of other arrangements.

The order was granted at Bromley County Court on May 22 and it is thought the property will be sold later this year.

Mr Penny said he has always previously had the opportunity to continue running and only heard for the first time his tenure looked to be over in December 2013. 

A Post Office spokeswoman confirmed the lease has expired but added the landlord has verbally agreed that the Post Office can remain for the time being.

She also said: “The subpostmaster has expressed an interest to leave under our Network Transformation Leaver Scheme, and he will receive compensation for giving up his business if we can find a suitable applicant to take on the Post Office.

“The vacancy has been advertised. An application has been received and will soon be put forward for six-week public consultation.”

Mr Penny said he said he will carry on as normal until an eviction notice comes in and bailiffs arrive.

Are you a resident who uses Meadway Post Office? How do you feel about a possible closure to the service? Get in touch joshua.barrie@london.newsquest.co.uk / @joshbythesea

Comments (12)

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6:11pm Wed 18 Jun 14

white rabbit9 says...

Everything is closing down. You were warned!
Everything is closing down. You were warned! white rabbit9
  • Score: 3

9:15pm Wed 18 Jun 14

Eagles_Man says...

Eh?

"The 67-year-old said he was unable to negotiate a lease extension" ... then says he was offered an extension but, presumably, rejected it.

Then we learn the Post Office don't want the place to close either - they're looking for someone to take it over because Mr Penny "has expressed an interest to leave".

Could someone explain please?
Eh? "The 67-year-old said he was unable to negotiate a lease extension" ... then says he was offered an extension but, presumably, rejected it. Then we learn the Post Office don't want the place to close either - they're looking for someone to take it over because Mr Penny "has expressed an interest to leave". Could someone explain please? Eagles_Man
  • Score: 8

7:08am Thu 19 Jun 14

sarfflondonbird says...

Eagles_Man wrote:
Eh?

"The 67-year-old said he was unable to negotiate a lease extension" ... then says he was offered an extension but, presumably, rejected it.

Then we learn the Post Office don't want the place to close either - they're looking for someone to take it over because Mr Penny "has expressed an interest to leave".

Could someone explain please?
Thought it was just me that was getting the Story a$$e upwards, so can N.S. tell us correctly what's going on with this story please? sort the facts out correctly will you. Ta.
[quote][p][bold]Eagles_Man[/bold] wrote: Eh? "The 67-year-old said he was unable to negotiate a lease extension" ... then says he was offered an extension but, presumably, rejected it. Then we learn the Post Office don't want the place to close either - they're looking for someone to take it over because Mr Penny "has expressed an interest to leave". Could someone explain please?[/p][/quote]Thought it was just me that was getting the Story a$$e upwards, so can N.S. tell us correctly what's going on with this story please? sort the facts out correctly will you. Ta. sarfflondonbird
  • Score: 12

8:22am Thu 19 Jun 14

white rabbit9 says...

sarfflondonbird wrote:
Eagles_Man wrote:
Eh?

"The 67-year-old said he was unable to negotiate a lease extension" ... then says he was offered an extension but, presumably, rejected it.

Then we learn the Post Office don't want the place to close either - they're looking for someone to take it over because Mr Penny "has expressed an interest to leave".

Could someone explain please?
Thought it was just me that was getting the Story a$$e upwards, so can N.S. tell us correctly what's going on with this story please? sort the facts out correctly will you. Ta.
True, sort it out before the nationals get a hold of this story and copy and paste it. Of course the nationals do investigate stories before printing. NOT!

Journalism = REPEATERS!!
[quote][p][bold]sarfflondonbird[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Eagles_Man[/bold] wrote: Eh? "The 67-year-old said he was unable to negotiate a lease extension" ... then says he was offered an extension but, presumably, rejected it. Then we learn the Post Office don't want the place to close either - they're looking for someone to take it over because Mr Penny "has expressed an interest to leave". Could someone explain please?[/p][/quote]Thought it was just me that was getting the Story a$$e upwards, so can N.S. tell us correctly what's going on with this story please? sort the facts out correctly will you. Ta.[/p][/quote]True, sort it out before the nationals get a hold of this story and copy and paste it. Of course the nationals do investigate stories before printing. NOT! Journalism = REPEATERS!! white rabbit9
  • Score: 7

1:16pm Thu 19 Jun 14

Boris bighead says...

Bromley council, all they want is MONEY.
Bromley council, all they want is MONEY. Boris bighead
  • Score: 2

1:28pm Sun 22 Jun 14

chelsfield resident says...

from chelsfield resident
My feeling on this is that as far as the landlord is concerned, he wants to sell without any thought whatsoever to either the Post Office or the couple who runs it.
As far as the way small post offices are given very good incentives to change to Locals, I feel it is an underhanded way for the government to force small post offices to close without getting all the negative publicity they did a few years ago. For a local post office to survive it needs a shop that will support the post office financially, not the other way round.
I think this is devious, but what can we expect from politicians?
from chelsfield resident My feeling on this is that as far as the landlord is concerned, he wants to sell without any thought whatsoever to either the Post Office or the couple who runs it. As far as the way small post offices are given very good incentives to change to Locals, I feel it is an underhanded way for the government to force small post offices to close without getting all the negative publicity they did a few years ago. For a local post office to survive it needs a shop that will support the post office financially, not the other way round. I think this is devious, but what can we expect from politicians? chelsfield resident
  • Score: 0

9:28pm Sun 22 Jun 14

Eagles_Man says...

chelsfield resident wrote:
from chelsfield resident
My feeling on this is that as far as the landlord is concerned, he wants to sell without any thought whatsoever to either the Post Office or the couple who runs it.
As far as the way small post offices are given very good incentives to change to Locals, I feel it is an underhanded way for the government to force small post offices to close without getting all the negative publicity they did a few years ago. For a local post office to survive it needs a shop that will support the post office financially, not the other way round.
I think this is devious, but what can we expect from politicians?
But Mr Penny was offered a lease extension, according to the story. And what's this to do with the government? It's not clear from the story if the landlord is Bromley Council or private - the former is not central government and the latter is unlikely to be following some secret government agenda.

Sorry, but the whole thing still doesn't make sense.
[quote][p][bold]chelsfield resident[/bold] wrote: from chelsfield resident My feeling on this is that as far as the landlord is concerned, he wants to sell without any thought whatsoever to either the Post Office or the couple who runs it. As far as the way small post offices are given very good incentives to change to Locals, I feel it is an underhanded way for the government to force small post offices to close without getting all the negative publicity they did a few years ago. For a local post office to survive it needs a shop that will support the post office financially, not the other way round. I think this is devious, but what can we expect from politicians?[/p][/quote]But Mr Penny was offered a lease extension, according to the story. And what's this to do with the government? It's not clear from the story if the landlord is Bromley Council or private - the former is not central government and the latter is unlikely to be following some secret government agenda. Sorry, but the whole thing still doesn't make sense. Eagles_Man
  • Score: 0

10:12pm Sun 22 Jun 14

Dennisp1947 says...

I'll try to explain, unfortunately it is complicated.Yes, an offer to renew the lease (private landlord) was made this time last year. It was a 5 year lease at the existing rental with a break clause after 3 years- a fair offer. At the same time Post Office Network Transformation was progressing and my Post Office was identified as a possible "local" model, this means transforming into a shop offering Post Office services. This meant that I would have to increase my shop turnover by 50% to compensate for the loss in Post office income. You will have to take my word on this, or do some investigating yourself. The parade on which the Post Office is situated is small, about 16 shops with a Londis and Martins, both open extended hours, this coupled with the economic climate made a 50% increase in turnover unlikely without a complete re-invention of the business. As you noticed, I was 66 last year looking towards retirement rather than re-inventing the business! Out of space, carry on below.......
I'll try to explain, unfortunately it is complicated.Yes, an offer to renew the lease (private landlord) was made this time last year. It was a 5 year lease at the existing rental with a break clause after 3 years- a fair offer. At the same time Post Office Network Transformation was progressing and my Post Office was identified as a possible "local" model, this means transforming into a shop offering Post Office services. This meant that I would have to increase my shop turnover by 50% to compensate for the loss in Post office income. You will have to take my word on this, or do some investigating yourself. The parade on which the Post Office is situated is small, about 16 shops with a Londis and Martins, both open extended hours, this coupled with the economic climate made a 50% increase in turnover unlikely without a complete re-invention of the business. As you noticed, I was 66 last year looking towards retirement rather than re-inventing the business! Out of space, carry on below....... Dennisp1947
  • Score: 2

10:48pm Sun 22 Jun 14

Dennisp1947 says...

Decision was made to remain on present model and hang on for 2-3 years, explain situation to landlord and tailor a lease around that scenario. Response from landlord's solicitors new lease with 30% increase plus some additional onerous clauses. This was followed by a section 25 notice, (not enough room to explain that). Tried to get explanation for change of tactics- no response. At end of year Network Transformation update, now urgent, there is no future for my Post Office model, even subpostmasters who do not want to close will have to, and to encourage their exit, the compensation to leave is upped by almost a third and the offer may not be available in future. For those of us have been living with closure hanging over us for the past 12 years the choice is obvious - get out! Even the exit is conditional on P.O. being able to relocate your P.O. to a shop nearby and can take up to 15 months. In December I got the normal rent demand for the next quarter until 23/03/14 which I paid assuming that some agreement with the landlord would be reached. In February, I got an eviction notice giving me until 15/03/14 to vacate. This goes on from here only getting worse believe me. If anybody is interested in the rest of the story they are welcome to pop in and get an update, I hope that this helps a bit to get the sequence of events in order.
Regards
Decision was made to remain on present model and hang on for 2-3 years, explain situation to landlord and tailor a lease around that scenario. Response from landlord's solicitors new lease with 30% increase plus some additional onerous clauses. This was followed by a section 25 notice, (not enough room to explain that). Tried to get explanation for change of tactics- no response. At end of year Network Transformation update, now urgent, there is no future for my Post Office model, even subpostmasters who do not want to close will have to, and to encourage their exit, the compensation to leave is upped by almost a third and the offer may not be available in future. For those of us have been living with closure hanging over us for the past 12 years the choice is obvious - get out! Even the exit is conditional on P.O. being able to relocate your P.O. to a shop nearby and can take up to 15 months. In December I got the normal rent demand for the next quarter until 23/03/14 which I paid assuming that some agreement with the landlord would be reached. In February, I got an eviction notice giving me until 15/03/14 to vacate. This goes on from here only getting worse believe me. If anybody is interested in the rest of the story they are welcome to pop in and get an update, I hope that this helps a bit to get the sequence of events in order. Regards Dennisp1947
  • Score: 3

8:33am Tue 24 Jun 14

white rabbit9 says...

Boris bighead wrote:
Bromley council, all they want is MONEY.
No money is an illusion, what the council want and who is behind the council is control.

If money is an illusion, well it is, FACT!! It's currency, (current sea(. so money is flowing the energy called humans to any direction the private banksters corporation want to take the human race. We live under the the rules of admirality. We are lost at sea, 1666. Cestui Que Vie Trust.

Please tell me I am wrong after you researched it. Opinions are plenty to come by, researched information is divine.
[quote][p][bold]Boris bighead[/bold] wrote: Bromley council, all they want is MONEY.[/p][/quote]No money is an illusion, what the council want and who is behind the council is control. If money is an illusion, well it is, FACT!! It's currency, (current sea(. so money is flowing the energy called humans to any direction the private banksters corporation want to take the human race. We live under the the rules of admirality. We are lost at sea, 1666. Cestui Que Vie Trust. Please tell me I am wrong after you researched it. Opinions are plenty to come by, researched information is divine. white rabbit9
  • Score: -2

3:35pm Tue 24 Jun 14

Dennisp1947 says...

Just an update, eviction notice received today - eviction scheduled for 11:30 p.m. on 4th August. I will have to close early second half of July in order to clear the premises. So far, no confirmation of the "verbal agreement" with the landlord from Post Office, landlord or his solicitor and agent.
Regards
Just an update, eviction notice received today - eviction scheduled for 11:30 p.m. on 4th August. I will have to close early second half of July in order to clear the premises. So far, no confirmation of the "verbal agreement" with the landlord from Post Office, landlord or his solicitor and agent. Regards Dennisp1947
  • Score: 0

2:54pm Sat 5 Jul 14

misterbaz says...

Looks like Dennisp1947 has been caught in the middle of two different agendas, As a matter of interest, who is the landlord involved?
Looks like Dennisp1947 has been caught in the middle of two different agendas, As a matter of interest, who is the landlord involved? misterbaz
  • Score: 0

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