Lendal post office will not be listed as a city asset

New role: the Lendal Post Office. Photograph: Richard McDougall

The Post Office building on Lendal – which has been empty since the branch closed earlier this year – will not be listed as an asset of community value.

The Guildhall branch of York Labour party applied for the Crown Post Office to become an asset of community value (ACV) so that it can be “used for the good of the community as well as visitors”.

Listing a building as an ACV means that a property cannot be sold without the local community being given an opportunity to buy it – it does not automatically protect land or buildings from being bought by businesses or individuals.

Tracey Carter, assistant director of assets at City of York Council, told a meeting that under the law any building used as a post office cannot be listed as an ACV.

She said: “The legislation is very clear that the operational land is excluded, so the recommendation is that we have no choice but to refuse the application.”

Still a post office

Inside the Lendal Post Office when it was open
Ms Carter added that, although the branch shut in April, the building is still classed as a post office under the law because the guidelines are based on what the building was used for when it was last open.

The meeting also heard that Post Office solicitors say the building should not be listed as an ACV.

Cllr Nigel Ayre, executive member for finance, said listing the building as an ACV could lead to an appeal and “significant costs” for the council.

He added: “I think it’s a shame – but the legislation is the way it is.

“It’s an open market sale so the community has just as much opportunity to bid.

“I think it’s strange that the individuals who made the application haven’t attended the meeting. I haven’t had any contact from them.”

Post Office services moved to WH Smith on Coney Street.