Post office closures decision today

RESIDENTS in some of Suffolk's most rural areas will today learn whether they will have to make do without vital post office services as a result of swingeing Government cutbacks.

Dave Gooderham

RESIDENTS in some of Suffolk's most rural areas will today learn whether they will have to make do without vital post office services as a result of swingeing Government cutbacks.

Postmasters in west Suffolk will be keeping their fingers crossed that their branch has avoided the cull - which is expected to close a quarter of all post offices in the area.

Post Office Ltd is due to announce its decisions today, which will be followed by a round of consultation, with many postmasters and local politicians already aware of which branches will be forced to close.

It is feared that a total of more than 50 branches in Suffolk could be axed as part of the sweeping closures across the country, after the closure of 32 post offices in east Suffolk was announced last year.

It is believed that as many as 18 branches in the Bury St Edmunds and West Suffolk parliamentary constituencies could now be set for the axe - leaving west Suffolk without a quarter of its 74 post offices.

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Last week, David Ruffley, MP for Bury, who has collected more than 6,500 signatures in his bid to save his constituency's threatened branches, said it would be an “utter disgrace” if so many branches closed.

While West Suffolk MP Richard Spring said he was hopeful that the number of closures in his constituency would be relatively small.

Villages rumoured to have avoided the chop include Higham, Pakenham, Rougham, Thurston and Woolpit.

Postmasters have been sworn to secrecy over today's announcement - they were emails by Post Office Ltd telling them whether they had been earmarked for closure or to remain open and then ordered not to divulge the information to their customers and to refer all queries about the proposed culls to the Post Office.

When the EADT learnt about the proposed closures, it re-launched its Save Our Post Offices appeal and thousands of readers signed a petition campaigning to safeguard their future.

In Norfolk, where an announcement is also expected today, it is rumoured that almost 70 post offices will face the axe with 61 shut outright and eight replaced by an outreach service.

Overall, 2,500 post offices across England and Wales will be closed from the existing 14,500.

A meeting for sub-postmasters is being held at Cedars Hall Hotel in Stowmarket on April 8, when the proposed closures will be discussed.

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