Villagers fear post office closure

By James HoreRESIDENTS fear their village post office may close for good after the postmistress announced her retirement.Elderly residents in Rowhedge are now facing a journey to Colchester to use Post Office services when Sheila Smith shuts her counter in the village at the end of March.

By James Hore

RESIDENTS fear their village post office may close for good after the postmistress announced her retirement.

Elderly residents in Rowhedge are now facing a journey to Colchester to use Post Office services when Sheila Smith shuts her counter in the village at the end of March.

East Donyland Parish Council has been making investigations into alternative arrangements, but so far has drawn a blank.


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News of the closure follows last week's announcement that another rural post office, in Great Bromley, will also shut because of a lack of support from customers.

Denis Horrigan, clerk to East Donyland Parish Council, said he had not heard from the Post Office since writing to them asking for help.

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"The parish council is trying very hard to find somewhere else for the post office. People will have to go to Old Heath, which is quite a way to go for pensioners," he added.

"We have written to the Co-op about them running something within the store, but it is a no-go because they are altering their premises and there will not be room.

"We are up against it. The news of the closure was a blow, there is no doubt about that, but we have not given up hope, but it is looking pretty grim."

A spokesman for the Post Office said it was searching for a new location and added: "What we are doing is looking how we can get somebody else.

"There is the need to find a suitable building, so what we will be doing is talking with all the different groups to see if we can find a place for the post office to go and another person to run it.

"If we find another place, we can put a temporary sub-postmaster in place there. We are not planning the closure of rural post offices, but it does happen if somebody wants to retire."

The retiring postmistress, Sheila Smith, 65, said she understood negotiations were under way to place a branch in an existing business in the village.

The Rowhedge postmistress of 15 years added: "We really do hope it will remain open and there are discussions ongoing and hopefully there will be time to sort it out."

james.hore@eadt.co.uk

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