Closure threat over post office

A MOTHER'S dream to pass on a family-run post office to her son has been thrown into doubt by closure plans. Postmistress Kay Panchalhas been told she could have less then three months left at the Valley Way Post Office in Newmarket, which she has run for the last six years.

A MOTHER'S dream to pass on a family-run post office to her son has been thrown into doubt by closure plans.

Postmistress Kay Panchalhas been told she could have less then three months left at the Valley Way Post Office in Newmarket, which she has run for the last six years.

She now faces the possibility of financial ruin as the adjoining shop, which has a nine-year lease still to run, is unable to support the businesswoman without the backup of the post office.

Mrs Panchal, 53, said she has been left with no choice but to sit and wait for a decision from Post Office officials, who have warned closure could take place as soon as May.


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"More and more customers have started to use the bank instead of the post office in recent months, so I was not surprised when I heard I might be shut-down," she said.

Mrs Panchal, who travels to Newmarket seven days a week from her home in Beccles, said she has worked hard over recent years to make her business a success, but now has no idea what her future holds.

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"I have got a lot of support from people in the town but I really don't think that anything they say will make a difference because I am sure the closure will go ahead.

"If the post office closes I will either have to try and sell the shop, or will have no choice but to stay here until my lease runs out, but I will only break even without the extra money coming in."

Mrs Panchal was left to run the shop on her own two years ago when her husband, Sudhirsuffered a serious brain haemorrhage. Her son Dipak was due to take over on her retirement but made the decision to go to university instead because of the uncertain future of his mother's business.

"It is a very difficult time for me at the moment but I just have to get on with it," she said.

West Suffolk MP Richard Spring, visited the Valley Way post office yesterdayto register his support.

He said: "The disgust that I feel about the decimation of the small post office network in my constituency has been well documented.

"Everyone I spoke to at the post office said how sad they would be to lose it and lots of them said they would support a petition to keep it open.

"If the post office is not viable then it is reasonable not to want to keep it open, but there has been no attempt to provide alternative arrangements."

In a letter circulated by Post Office Ltd, customers of the branch were told that the Valley Way post office was included in a review of the future of 10 urban branches in west Suffolk, in an attempt to address falling customer numbers and increasing running costs.

A public consultation period will run from now until the end of March during which time any issues can be raised over the closure of the branch.

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