Village anger at post office relocation

VILLAGERS have protested against controversial plans to close their post office - and open another “branch” less than two miles away.Under the plans, there will be no longer be a post office at Pettaugh, near Stowmarket, and the village will be covered by a seven-day “Partner Service” at neighbouring Stonham Aspal.

Russell Claydon

VILLAGERS have protested against controversial plans to close their post office - and open another “branch” less than two miles away.

Under the plans, there will be no longer be a post office at Pettaugh, near Stowmarket, and the village will be covered by a seven-day “Partner Service” at neighbouring Stonham Aspal.

The new site, at Stonham Barns on the A1120, will be just one-and-a-half miles from the existing post office at the village store.

Lorraine Crighton, who put together a petition of more than 100 names to oppose the movement, said the villagers just could not understand the rationale behind closing their present Post Office and paying to open a longer service at another site.

“It is confusing everybody. I have been told that Mrs Scott (the present sub-postmistress), who has worked so hard, was offered it (the post office) 11 hours a week but said it was not long enough and 20 hours would be better.

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“But Post Office never got back to her and has given it to Stonham Barns for 56 hours.

“I live in Stonham Aspal and it would be closer to me but I just do not agree with it. It is situated on a busy A-road that the elderly cannot be expected to walk along and there is no bus route for them to get there.”

She said people she had spoken to in the village had said they would even boycott the service if it was relocated.

The petition will be sent to local MP Michael Lord, watchdog Postwatch and Post Office in the hope the decision could be overturned.

A Post Office spokesman would not comment on the village protest, which involved 25 people, but released a statement which read: “Post Office Ltd has decided to introduce a Partner Service which will be operated from Stonham Barns and will offer a range of the most commonly used Post Office products and services, including collecting cash using Post Office everyday banking services.

“The new Partner Service will offer opening hours from Monday to Sunday from 9.30am to 5pm.”

He added the relocation would meet Government criteria that 99% of the population should be within three miles and 90% of the population should be within one mile of their nearest Post Office branch.

But Rita Denyer, who has lived and worked in Pettaugh for 36 years, claimed it only met the criteria as the crow flies and did not take into account road networks.

Pettaugh sub-postmistress Jan Scott was commended for her 20 years service at the branch by Post Office bosses in 2006.

The plans to close Pettaugh Post Office are part of a wide-ranging revamp of the network, in which 67 branches in Suffolk and east Essex were axed.

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