SINCE their postbox disappeared without warning last September, the people living on a Sudbury housing estate have mounted a spirited challenge to win it back.

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The protesters from Chaucer Estate have collected 270 signatures and written 40 letters asking for the postbox to be reinstated on the corner of Melford Road and Chaucer Road.

About 1,000 people who live on and around the estate used the postbox, which was taken out because it stood on private property. It was particularly missed during the busy Christmas period because many people had to walk a quarter of a mile to the nearest alternative box.

Edith Halliday, who lives on the estate, said: “I used to work for the post office and this box was always full up by the end of the day. The closest postbox to us now is Priory Road but you can’t park anywhere near there and a lot of older people are simply not able to walk that far.

“People wrongly assume that we all send emails these days rather than posting letters, but many of us don’t even own a computer.”

Sudbury councillor John Sayers has taken up the case.

He has written to Royal Mail “dozens of times” but so far has been unable to secure a “straight answer”.

David Riddlestone, who lives nearby, said people felt the Royal Mail was “fobbing them off”.

He added: “It has now been nearly five months since the postbox was taken away and we understand why the decision was taken to remove it.

“But our complaint is that despite numerous letters and pleas, we still haven’t been given a straight answer as to whether they intend to replace it or not.”

A Royal Mail spokesman said installing a new postbox required significant groundwork and in some cases, planning permission.

A convenient alternative site that can be easily reached by delivery vehicles also has to be found.

A customer adviser for Royal Mail told one resident they had been unable to reach an agreement with the local council for re-siting the box.

She said the Royal Mail collections team would need to assess a policy which states that, as a minimum in each postcode area where there are no less than 200 delivery points per square kilometre, at least 99% of postal service users should be within 500 metres of a post box.

She added: “If the current facilities are sufficient, the postbox will not be reinstated.”

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