LABOUR wants the former Lendal Post Office in York to be listed as an asset of community value - meaning the building could not be sold without the community being given a fair opportunity to bid for it.

But a spokesman for the Post Office said the organisation was against the move - and council officers say the application should be refused.

The branch shut on April 3 after 135 years. A campaign launched to save the site was unsuccessful and Post Office services moved into WH Smith in Coney Street.

A City of York Council meeting on Monday will consider an application from the Labour group to list the historic building as an asset of community value (ACV).

The application says: “The Lendal post office building was custom-built in 1884 and was one of the last surviving late Victorian purpose-built post offices in use until 2019.

“The building is an asset to York citizens (and those living in Guildhall), and visitiors and should continue to be used for the good of the community as well as visitors to York.

“We want it to retain a community-based use.”

The building is still owned by the Post Office, according to a report prepared for the meeting.

It adds that solicitors acting for the Post Office say the building is exempt from being listed as an ACV because it is operational land - property that is “used by the provider, or a company associated with it, for any purpose in connection with the provision of a universal postal service”.

Council officers recommend that the application to list the building as an ACV is turned down “because even though Lendal Post Office is not currently in use for the purpose of providing a postal service, it was acquired by Post Office Ltd for that purpose and is still owned by Post Office Ltd”.

Guildhall councillor Fiona Fitzpatrick said residents would see “little value in another bar, cafe or restaurant occupying a building of such historic significance”.

She said: “It’s hugely disappointing to see the recommendation and the likely outcome that the former Crown Post Office building won’t be registered as an asset of community value. It’s difficult to understand why officers deem it an operational business premises when it has been shut up and closed for almost six months.”

She said the council could also bid for the building.

“But this shouldn’t signal the end of the road for the building and the prospect of it providing some value to the local community,” she said.

“The council has an opportunity to bid for the building, in order to put it to a use that will benefit York residents.

“If there wasn’t sufficient interest, then the council would have an asset that would hold its value and could always be let out commercially.”

Tracey Carter, assistant director of regeneration at the council, said: “Local community assets can add real value to the community, like Hurst Hall community centre or Strensall Library. So we welcome applications, but we must also ensure that they comply with the national legalisation in order to properly safeguard all parties involved.”