Anger as post offices axed

ANGRY community leaders have spoken of their shock and disappointment after a sub post office was closed – just months after a branch in the same town closed its doors.

ANGRY community leaders have spoken of their shock and disappointment after a sub post office was closed - just months after a branch in the same town closed its doors.

Residents in Newmarket are coming to terms with the second branch closure this year after Post Office bosses confirmed the store at Valley Way was being axed next month.

The permanent closures of two other post offices in Ipswich and Melton were also confirmed yesterday.

West Suffolk MP Richard Spring, who led the campaign to keep the Valley Way branch open, said he feared for the sub post office network unless something was done to stop the closures.

Mr Spring said: “I am very disappointed as it means two of the three sub post offices in Newmarket are now closing.

“This is very inconvenient for users of the post office service. The main post office in the High Street is often very crowded and there is no parking so it was inconvenient for many people.

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“This is a great blow and I very much object to the fact that we are seeing a decimation of the sub post system in a town the size of Newmarket.

“I can't see how they can close any more branches without completely destroying the whole system and I hope this is the end of the road.”

Speaking prior to the announcement, town councillor Donald Levick said: “These sub post offices are the heart of the community and I know there are a lot of elderly people living in this area who could now be left in a very difficult position.”

The closure - agreed with the sub postmasters who want to leave the business - is part of a nationwide programme designed to safeguard the future of the national Post Office network.

Post Office regional head George Hooper said: “We have very carefully considered our original proposal, on an individual branch basis, whilst also taking into account the needs of the west Suffolk area as a whole.

“After taking into account the overall branch resources in the area, we have decided that permanent closure of Valley Way Post Office branch is the correct action to take.

“Of course, no one likes to see the branch nearest to them shut but, even with these closures, customers will still have reasonable access to alternative Post Office services customers value and trust.

“We remain satisfied that the remaining Post Office branches in the area are suitably located and offer the right services to meet the needs of the local community.”

Post Office bosses also announced two other branches in the region will close for good - Ulster Avenue in Ipswich and a branch which serves Melton.

The post office in Melton used to operate for a few hours weekly from the kitchen at the Burness Parish Room, The Street, until closing more than 12 months ago after difficulties in finding someone to run it.

Graham Laight, parish council chairman, said yesterday: “We are aware that it had been designated an urban post office and under rules applied by the Post Office they sent us a letter saying the post office had closed.

“When the refurbishment of the parish room is complete and the post office could have its own shut-off place then we could go back to the Post Office and ask for it to be reopened.”

Meanwhile, the Ulster Avenue post office in Ipswich will shut its doors for the final time on June 21.

The closure has been agreed with the postmaster, but was met with scorn by regular customers yesterday.

Cissie Kerr, 87, said: “I am asthmatic and I can't go anywhere that would need me to walk any distance.

“We are all feeling very aggrieved because we definitely need a post office. How can people do these things to old people?”

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