Concern as town loses another PO

CIVIC leaders are calling for urgent talks with postal chiefs after learning another town post office, which serves thousands of residents, looks certain to close.

CIVIC leaders are calling for urgent talks with postal chiefs after learning another town post office, which serves thousands of residents, looks certain to close.

Councillors and residents on the Moreton Hall Estate in Bury St Edmunds have reacted angrily after learning supermarket giant Tesco has purchased the One-Stop convenience store in Lawson Place, and plan to close the post-office within the shop to make way for a bakery.

Post Office Limited recently axed another outlet in Eastgate Street and two others branches in Horringer Road and Southgate Street are also earmarked for closure as part of a major review of postal services being carried out in the town.

St Edmundsbury Borough Council members Terry Buckle and Frank Warby say they will now join forces with MP David Ruffley and call for an emergency meeting with Post Office bosses.

Mr Warby said: "Once again we are losing facilities and the most vulnerable members of the community will be hit hardest. We have been told Tesco will take over the One-Stop shop in May, but have no plans to keep the post office open.

"There is concern all round, especially in Moreton Hall because a lot of people rely on the shop and the postal services there. One of the reasons the Post Office gave for closing Eastgate Street was because there was an outlet at Moreton Hall, but now that looks certain to be lost as well.

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"With Horringer Road and Southgate Street also set to close I am becoming alarmed at the rate we seem to be losing these facilities, it all seems heavy handed."

Fellow borough councillor and chairman of the Morten Hall Community Association Terry Buckle said: "We will fight these plans all the way. Moreton Hall has thousands of residents and it is the fastest growing estate in the town and to close the Post Office here would be terrible."

Post Office bosses say it is no longer viable to keep open all 39 branches serving Bury and are reviewing services in the town.

They say the situation is leaving too many post offices chasing too few customers and that doing nothing is not an option. The closures are being proposed to improve the sustainability of the remaining branches, they say.

A six-week consultation period over the closure plan is now complete and the results of the review are expected to be announced by Post Office Limited within the next few weeks.

A Tesco spokesman said: "We have purchased all 800 One Stop and Dillons stores across the country. We are converting 450 of the stores to Tesco Express shops, which are small convenience stores. We do not intend to keep the post office at the Lawson Place site. First and foremost we are a food store and that has to take priority if there is not enough space for a post office."

A Post Office Limited spokesman said: "One Stop shops have been taken over by Tesco Express and Post Office Limited continues in discussion with all parties regarding the future of the post office on Lawson Place.

"Post Office Limited aims to continue to provide a continued service to customers and it is business as usual."

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