Threat to village's post office

By Roddy AshworthCUSTOMERS at a village post office have been shocked to discover it is due to close in a matter of weeks with no-one yet found to take it over.

By Roddy Ashworth

CUSTOMERS at a village post office have been shocked to discover it is due to close in a matter of weeks with no-one yet found to take it over.

People living in Tiptree are concerned the branch, based at Robinsons in Church Road, may never reopen and they will be forced to travel to use Post Office services.

Tiptree borough and parish councillor, Tony Webb, said villagers were worried it might prove impossible to find a replacement for the current sub-postmaster.

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He pointed out Tiptree was one of the biggest villages in Britain with a population of more than 9,500.

“It's not just people from Tiptree that use the post office - it also serves the outlying villages such as Tolleshunt Knights, Messing and Salcot,” said Mr Webb said.

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“There are queues throughout the day, from 9am until the late afternoon. People are very concerned. The nearest post office is in Kelvedon, which is three miles away with a two-hourly bus service.

“I am very concerned for the pensioners - more than 1,000 collect their pensions from the post office each week.”

Ronnie Dewis, who lives in Station Road, said she was worried about the journey she faced to use Post Office services if the Tiptree branch closed in September when the current sub-postmaster leaves.

“It looks like I'm going to have to pay to go and get my money from Great Totham or Kelvedon,” she added.

“The buses don't run very often, so the best place to go will be Colchester, and that's £3.80 return. I use the post office to get my money and post letters and parcels.”

Terry Sapstead, of Blenheim Way, said: “I come here about once a week. The old people need the post office to get their pensions and allowances. They will be stuffed.”

Bernard Jenkin, the North Essex MP, said: “The Post Office claim that this is only a temporary closure, but no new sub-postmaster means no post office. That's been the story all over my constituency.

“Many vulnerable people rely on branches like this for their pensions and child benefit payments.

“These people would find it difficult and expensive to travel to other villages to access these vital facilities.”

A spokeswoman for the Post Office confirmed its branch in Tiptree would be closing in September.

“We are committed to maintaining Post Office facilities in the area and are currently advertising for a replacement sub-postmaster,” she added.

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