A VILLAGE community is set to lose its "essential" Post Office due to its owners' struggles to make a profit with the service.

It has been announced Dedham Post Office, which is inside the village's pharmacy, will close for good on June 28.

Owners Mandeep and Pardeep Sandhu said the closure was down to financial problems caused by the Post Office's new franchise model and a loss of lottery income.

The pharmacy however will remain open as normal once the Post Office counter closes.

In a post on Facebook, Mandeep said: "It comes with deep regret that we have to post this on this group, both Pardeep and I came to this decision which has not been easy as we understand as a village our community rely on such an essential service but we have no option.

"Unfortunately due to financial reasons the current model the Post Office operates under is no longer viable for us, alongside the reduced lottery income.

"We have had lengthy discussions with the Post Office to see if anything else can be done financially to help keep the branch open, unfortunately the new model is what it is and we can only operate on commission.

"The previous owner received an annual salary for running the Post Office but the new model which came into place when we purchased two years ago does not offer that.

"Due to this we have been operating at a substantial loss every month and cannot afford to keep it open any longer."

Gazette: Sheila BeetonSheila Beeton

Sheila Beeton, chairwoman of Dedham Parish Council, said the Post Office was not just a service, but a community asset and meeting point for residents.

"We are very disappointed about the development and we will try and do everything we can to try and save the service, although we have got to do it quickly," she said.

A Post Office spokesperson, said alternative branches were available in Stratford St Mary and Ardleigh.

He said: “We have received a resignation from the Postmaster for Dedham and the premises, that we do not own, will be removed for Post Office use from 1 July.

“We understand how important a Post Office is to a community and we would like to reassure customers that we are working hard to maintain a Post Office in that area.

“Any retailer or small business owner interested in running the Post Office and incorporating it into their business should email ND.enquiries@postoffice.co.uk or phone 0845 2668790.”