MP fights five PO closures in town

By Danielle NuttallAN MP has criticised the Post Office over its proposal to close five branches in an East Anglian town.The Post Office currently operates 21 branches in Ipswich and is considering whether to shut down five of its outlets to make those remaining more viable.

By Danielle Nuttall

AN MP has criticised the Post Office over its proposal to close five branches in an East Anglian town.

The Post Office currently operates 21 branches in Ipswich and is considering whether to shut down five of its outlets to make those remaining more viable.

The proposed closures involve the Barrack Corner branch in Norwich Road, the Felixstowe Road branch, the Ruskin Road branch, the St John's branch in Spring Road and the Wherstead Road branch.


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Chris Mole, the Labour MP for Ipswich, said: “These closures will cut off people near Stoke Bridge from vital postal services and leave east Ipswich stripped bare of neighbourhood post offices.

“The Post Office needs to make more effort to ensure its neighbourhood offices are viable. The Post Office should develop more new services, such as the ability to collect internet shopping parcels from local offices.”

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But George Hooper, head of the area for Post Office Ltd, said: “No change is not an option for Post Office Ltd, which is losing increasing amounts of money - £194million last year alone.

“Nor is it an option for sub-postmasters whose branches are simply taking too little to pay their way. Not long ago this led to a spate of uncontrolled closures, with sub-postmasters believing they had no choice but to leave.

“By managing closures through this programme, we will have fewer branches, but these will be viable and have a future.

“All our substantial research and discussions with sub-postmasters in developing our proposals demonstrate that the number that will be left in Ipswich is the maximum that levels of business locally will sustain.”

Mr Mole said the proposed closures would particularly hit elderly residents who relied on the fact they had a post office on their doorsteps.

He has written to the Post Office consultation team outlining his concerns and hopes to meet them to discuss the proposals.

But Mr Hooper said: “Currently, 95% of people in towns and cities live within a mile of their nearest branch, with the majority within a mile of two or more, and even after these closures that access level will continue.

“Of course we realise that losing the neighbourhood office on the doorstep will be an inconvenience for customers whose branch closes, but this is not an issue on which Post Office Ltd can stand still.”

Anyone who wants to comment on the proposals should write to National Consultation Team, PO Box 2060, Watford, WD18 8ZW, by March 30.

danielle.nuttall@eadt.co.uk

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