Surgery backs post office fight

A DOCTORS' surgery has backed a campaign to save a market town's post office amid fears that its elderly and frail patients will find it very difficult to get to another branch.

John Howard

A DOCTORS' surgery has backed a campaign to save a market town's post office amid fears that its elderly and frail patients will find it very difficult to get to another branch.

Post Office bosses announced at the end of March that they would shut 16 branches in west Suffolk to bring the total number facing the axe in the county to 50.

But residents in Stowmarket are determined to fight plans to close the branches in Crown Street and Combs Ford.


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Last month more than 200 families gathered at Combs Ford, with town mayor Anne Whybrow dressed as Postman Pat, to make their point.

Now Combs Ford Surgery has also backed their branch's campaign to stay open and staff said they want the Royal Mail to reconsider.

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A spokeswoman for the practice said: “Many of the customers at the Post Office are also patients at our surgery.

“We believe the elderly and frail will find it very difficult to get into town as many are unable to walk long distances and public transport is not regular or frequent.

“We are concerned about how this group of patients will be able to manage. We believe that a larger Post Office will not have sufficient time to spend with these people who may need additional help and the personal touch will be lost.”

Stephen Brown, chairman of the Stowmarket and District Royal British Legion branch, which has more than 500 members, added that the veterans see the facility as a lifeline.

And John Curle, county secretary of the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association (SSAFA), said he is disgusted that the post office is earmarked for closure.

He said many ex-service personnel who served their country and who are now elderly and disabled need the service.

And at Crown Street residents there have also been lobbying hard to save their branch which they cherish.

A spokesman for Post Office Ltd said it will take about four weeks to consider people's comments after the June 2 deadline for consultations.

An announcement is then expected about which branches are definitely closing, any reprieves, and any that may need further investigation.

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