The abolition of hefty licence fees charged by the Post Office Network to retailers wishing to run sub post offices will give the market a huge boost, according to property agents Christie & Co. Since 1989, retailers taking over a sub post office had to pay PO Counters a fee equivalent to 25% of annual remuneration for the privilege, a major contributory factor in the stagnation of the market over the past decade, said Christie's retail director Mark Sheehan. "This is excellent news for post office buyers and sellers alike. When the requirement was introduced we noted an immediate negative impact on the market. "Now, 12 years on, we expect the abolition of the introductory payment to have the corresponding positive effect." Mid Wales Spar retailer Denis Lawrence, who recently purchased a sub post office in Builth Wells, said the fees had proved prohibitive for many prospective buyers. "The Post Office didn't even give us anything back for our money," he added. "They gave us virtually no support. We even had to buy the postbox outside the office." The sub post office market has been extremely volatile during 2000, said Sheehan. An early slump in the market due to negative publicity surrounding the government's decision to pay benefits directly into bank accounts was later mitigated by the decision of the major banks to support schemes like the Universal Bank, reviving confidence in the sector. {{NEWS }}