AN application to change the use of a former post office in Witton into a veterinary surgery, has been refused by Wychavon District Council’s planning committee.

The decision at Thursday’s committee meeting, followed an upsurge of support to re-instate the post office from the local community, which saw more than 300 people signing a petition, as well as hundreds of individual responses from local residents objecting to the application.

Planning officers at the council had recommended approving the application, but it was refused because the proposed screened bin store at the front of the building, was thought to have a potentially detrimental impact on the character of the building, and on the adjoining businesses and residential properties.

Concerns were also raised over the removal of clinical waste from the building through the reception area, which only has one entrance at the front.

Raj Patel who runs a nearby newsagents, and worked to become accredited as a post master in hopes of taking the business on, was surprised by the community support.

He said: “I’m grateful to the people who supported us, and I was overwhelmed by the response. I didn’t think 315 was a lot, I would have liked about 1,000, but I only had four days to get a petition in. We had a mini petition from Terry Mailer who took it to the Red Lion, and other businesses tried to help but there wasn’t enough time.

The Advertiser reported on the community’s reaction to the planning application several weeks ago.

Mr Patel added: “After the article was printed everyone was like ‘where’s the petition?’ and I had to tell them it was out of my hands. People from all over town came, from Westlands even and they’ve got their own post office. It was great.”