Anger at post office closures

THE chairman of a disabled access group has slammed a consultation process which has led to the closure of three town post offices as a "token gesture".

THE chairman of a disabled access group has slammed a consultation process which has led to the closure of three town post offices as a "token gesture".

The East Hill, Hythe Hill and Bergholt Road branches in Colchester are set to close their counters to customers next month despite a formal objection from the town's MP and widespread criticism of the changes.

Concerns had been raised about the short consultation period despite claims by the Post Office that all relevant people had been considered.

Yesterday, Hilary Davis, the chairman of the Colchester Access Group, which has campaigned against the potential impact, claimed a lot of people were fuming about the decision.


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"It was inevitable and it was just an 'exercise' in public consultation and I am sure they made their minds up a long time ago about these things.

"A mile can be a long way for elderly people or mother's with push chairs to walk to the alternatives and catching a bus can be a lot of hassle," she said.

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However, George Hooper, head of area for Post Office Ltd, said it did appreciate the concerns which had been expressed.

He said: "We have taken them into account in making these final decisions. However, the issue is not about the future of individual branches but the overall viability of our urban network overall.

"Of course, no one likes to see the branch nearest to them shut but, even with the closures of East Hill and the Hythe Post Offices, customers will still have reasonable access to post office services they value and trust."

He claimed the remaining post offices in the area are "conveniently accessible" to customers.

The Bergholt Road closure was agreed with the sub postmaster who wanted "to leave the business". Residents in the Butt Road area will still be able to access the vital community facility after Vishnu Patel chose to withdraw his branch from the voluntary network reinvention programme.

Previously, speaking to the East Anglian Daily Times, he said if his post office had been forced to close, he might have had to, very regrettably, close the store which he has run for the 16 years.

The Hythe Hill branch will close on April 12, the East Hill branch and Bergholt Road locations will both cease business on April 15.

n Springfield Hill Post Office and Queens Road Post Office in Chelmsford are both to close on April 14.

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