50 Suffolk post offices may face axe

UP to a quarter of post offices in west Suffolk could be axed next week - bringing the Government cull of Suffolk branches to 50, the EADT can reveal.

UP to a quarter of post offices in west Suffolk could be axed next week - bringing the Government cull of Suffolk branches to 50, the EADT can reveal.

Concerned postmasters and customers are bracing themselves for the latest round of closure announcements, with many fearing local shops will not be able to survive without the post office services which often go hand-in-hand with them.

Suffolk and east Essex has already seen 67 branches listed for closure by Post Office Ltd, leaving many people wondering how they will access vital facilities the branches provide in the future.

As many as 18 branches in the Bury St Edmunds and West Suffolk constituencies could be set for the axe next week - leaving west Suffolk without a quarter of its 74 post offices.

David Ruffley, MP for Bury St Edmunds, has collected more than 6,500 signatures in his bid to save his constituency's branches but he remains in the dark over which ones would be closed.

He told the EADT: “If rumours that a quarter of post offices in west Suffolk are earmarked for closure then this would not only be a tragedy but an utter disgrace.”

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West Suffolk MP Richard Spring, who has been given a confidential briefing on his constituency proposals, said: “It is certainly less than 10. I was told in total confidence and we did go through them one by one.

“I am reasonably hopeful that the number that they will close will be relatively small in west Suffolk. I have been given an assurance that there would be no further closures until 2011.”

Simon Cudworth, secretary of the Ipswich and District branch of the National Federation of Sub Postmasters, said he would only discover the proposals for west Suffolk when they were made public next Wednesday .

But he believed some sub postmasters who were currently struggling to make a living would welcome the closures because they stood to gain a compensation payout.

While sub postmasters have been contacted by Post Office Ltd and told of their fate, they have been barred from speaking about their own position publicly.

John Dekker, sub postmaster at Horringer, said he had no idea as to how many closures there might be but added: “There is going to be some sort of impact but we have got to wait for the news next Wednesday.”

Post Office Ltd said it would not be revealing any details publicly about the expected closures until next week.

A meeting for sub postmasters is being held at Cedars Hall Hotel in Stowmarket on April 8, where the proposed closures will be discussed.

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