PO closure blamed on service shake-up
THE owner of a rural post office and general store which closed yesterday blamed the Government for a downturn in trade.Michael Beckett and his wife Eileen have run Great Bromley Post Office and Stores for the past seven years but decided to put the shop up for sale because business had faded away.
THE owner of a rural post office and general store which closed yesterday blamed the Government for a downturn in trade.
Michael Beckett and his wife Eileen have run Great Bromley Post Office and Stores for the past seven years but decided to put the shop up for sale because business had faded away.
People without cars now face the prospect of using infrequent public transport to get basic groceries.
Mr Beckett said the policy of allowing pensions and benefits to be paid directly into bank accounts had led to a significant reduction in the amount of customers coming into the Brook Street post office.
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The shop had been up for sale for about two years and despite limited interest the couple thought they had found a buyer last week only for the deal to fall through.
Mr Beckett said the closure was sad but added the problems they had faced were the same for anyone running a rural post office.
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He said: “Compared to the records of 10 to 15 years ago we now have only a quarter of the amount of pensions there used to be and that is still reducing all the time.
“Every post office is finding the same thing, but for us the change was the final straw because people who used to come in for benefits would also buy a few bits but now they do not come in at all.”
Mr Beckett, 54, said he was going to take a break before looking for more work - possibly as a postman.
Last night, the chairman of Great Bromley Parish Council said people in the village had been given the option of “use it or lose it” and had not given the support needed.
Major James Heaney said: “Some people will be sad to see it go but the problem was that most people did not support it and that is why the store is closing.
“It is happening a lot because of the convenience of going to supermarkets - one stop shopping. We as a family made a point of buying things at the post office, but the majority of people did not do that.
“For elderly people who don't have cars it is a pretty devastating blow to them, but there is nothing we as a parish council could do about it - we made frequent warnings of use it or lose it.”
A spokesman for the Post Office said last night that it would be a temporary closure.
He said: “We will doing all we can to ensure services are resumed as soon as possible. I cannot speak about specific sub post masters, but the changes to the system of payments can affect on average, 40% of income of an average sub post office.”