BY TOBY PORTER
Thousands of supporters have signed a petition to turn a shop into a post office.
Customers of Shillings Newsagents in Anerley Road, Penge are hoping inspectors will say the outlet passes all the requirements to become a post office.
In the first 10 days almost 3,000 people signed a petition backing shop owner Jignesh Patel’s wish to secure post office status for his 20-year-old store.
Businesses in the area have also supported the campaign. The area has not had a post office for more than five years.
Mr Patel said: “The application has progressed so far. The finance is in place and we have gone through all the steps and been successful so far.
“It will make a huge difference to everyone if we can be approved.
“The nearest one is a 20-minute walk away all up a long hill to Crystal Palace.
“That is too much to ask pensioners to walk because there is no parking. So many people keep asking how the application is going because it is so important to them.”
The campaign is supported by Bromley council’s Labour leader, Councillor Ann Wilkins, who said: “The loss of the sub-post office opposite Anerley Town Hall has resulted in residents having to travel to Crystal Palace or Elmer’s End Road, none of which is within walking distance of this former facility.
“Since the last application in 2015, a development of more than 200 housing units has commenced off William Booth Road, which will inevitably lead to an increased demand for post office services.
“We are in the process of discussions with Bromley council about trying to regenerate the shops on Anerley Hill, with view to creating a greater sense of community and to improving the public realm.
“A sub-post office at Shillings would provide a key community facility, and one which is in my view much needed. It is an issue raised quite frequently by local residents.”
She was backed by resident Hayley Kirkman, who said: “Where I have to go now, is a long hike up a hill as there is insufficient parking, and always a long wait.”
Retired journalist Michael Warwick said: “It is a much-needed asset following the closure of one further down Anerley Road two years ago.
“The nearest post office is in the Crystal Palace one-way system which is inaccessible and has limited parking.
“I need one to register letters because I write a lot of legal correspondence. “And my French wife sends a lot of mail abroad so we need stamps. I would be delighted to have a post office at that location.”
Another resident, Eric Asabayire, from nearby Maberley Crescent, said: “Shillings is strategically placed to provide local postal services to our local community which lacks this vital service.”