Villagers face post office frustration
VILLAGERS have spoken of their frustration after it emerged that the future of a north Suffolk post office is in the hands of the government.After the post office in Fressingfield, near Stradbroke, closed more than 18 months ago the parish council has been spearheading a campaign to open a replacement post office in the village.
VILLAGERS have spoken of their frustration after it emerged that the future of a north Suffolk post office is in the hands of the government.
After the post office in Fressingfield, near Stradbroke, closed more than 18 months ago the parish council has been spearheading a campaign to open a replacement post office in the village.
They have got permission to use Sancroft Hall, which is owned by the church, as a sub-post office for a couple of mornings a week and they have got a new sub-post master, Harry Fox.
But until the government publishes its cuts for the service, plans for the facility are in a “state of abeyance”.
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Parish councillor Virginia Skoyles said: “In December we were ready to go ahead but then the government said they maybe cutting the subsidy.
“The details were supposed to be published in March but it looks as though it's going to be later this month now.”
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She said that there was no point opening the sub-post office only for it to close again months later.
“They said we can open it but we don't see the point if there's a risk we may have to close it again,” said Cllr Skoyles. “It wouldn't be fair on the village.”
The government has said that some four million fewer people use post offices a week compared with two years ago.
So changes have been proposed.
These include a restructuring of the post office network, with up to 2,500 closures, and the opening of new Outreach locations, which would see services in small remote communities operated from alternative locations such as village halls, community centres or pubs.
Villagers in Fressingfield have had to go to either Harleston or Stradbroke for their post office needs since the old post office on Church Street closed.
The post office closed because the previous postmistress, Anthea Smith, decided to retire and put it up for sale but nobody wanted to take it on.
Carol Smy, parish clerk, said: “We haven't had a post office since October 2005 but not for a want of trying.
“No one was prepared to spend that kind of money and time on running a post office but we've been trying to get this replacement in place and we were pretty close to getting it up and running.”
A planning application has been lodged with Mid-Suffolk District Council to convert the old post office into two houses.
The application is still in the progress of gathering paperwork and it will be decided in the coming months.