MP's fury at closure of Post Office
By Rebecca SheppardANGER has been voiced after the Post Office announced it would close a branch in a seaside resort before Christmas.A statement released by the Post Office yesterdaysaid it had agreed with the sub-postmistress of the Station Road branch in Beach Station Road, Felixstowe, that it would shut on December 8.
By Rebecca Sheppard
ANGER has been voiced after the Post Office announced it would close a branch in a seaside resort before Christmas.
A statement released by the Post Office yesterdaysaid it had agreed with the sub-postmistress of the Station Road branch in Beach Station Road, Felixstowe, that it would shut on December 8.
It added the decision followed a month-long period of consultation with customers, groups and elected council members, as well as the town's MP.
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But John Gummer, the Conservative MP for Suffolk Coastal, whose constituency includes the town, said a proper consultation had not been carried out after the closure was first proposed in of September.
“The Post Office gives the impression that it has been consulting. It hasn't done anything of the sort. It has written a letter saying what it wants to do, which is not consultation,” he added.
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“Consultation is about asking people their views, discussing with them and giving them the opportunity to see what it is about.
“I do believe that local people, not just elected representatives or MPs, should have been consulted in a much more general way.
“I am concerned that I still have not had assurances that the services provided by the excellent post office in Beach Station Road, which I have visited regularly, will be provided elsewhere.”
A spokesman for the Post Office said a letter had been sent to Mr Gummer in September, inviting him to comment, along with other organisations, including Suffolk County Council and Felixstowe Town Council.
The East Anglian Daily Times has launched a Save Our Post Offices campaign to safeguard the future of the region's branches and Felixstowe mayor, Doreen Savage, said she was sad the Station Road outlet would be closing because it was needed in the area.
“The nearest post office is Bent Hill and for a lot of people it means a lot of inconvenience,” she added.
“I did speak to the lady that runs the post office and she too is quite sad, but quite a lot of people now have their pensions paid directly into their bank accounts and the level of business is going down.
“I think that's why there has been a decline in the number of post offices. People who haven't got a bank account or like their money in their hands so they can budget will be adversely affected.”
Marilyn Giles, the sub-postmistress of the Station Road branch, will receive compensation on the closure of the outlet.
George Hooper, head of area for the Post Office, said: “We fully appreciate the concerns expressed by those who let us have their views and have taken account of them in making this final decision.
“However the issue is not about the future of an individual branch, 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 closure of Station Road post office branch, customers will still have reasonable access to Post Office services they know and trust.”