Battle is on to save our post offices

PUBLISHED: 12:44 10 April 2008 | UPDATED: 15:43 11 May 2010

POST offices in the area are facing closure, and residents are being urged to speak out to save their local office from the axe. Today The Crow is launching its Your Post Office Needs You campaign. We are imploring our readers to voice their concerns or

POST offices in the area are facing closure, and residents are being urged to speak out to save their local office from the axe.

Today The Crow is launching its Your Post Office Needs You campaign.

We are imploring our readers to voice their concerns or risk losing vital community facilities.

Last year the government announced plans to close 2,500 post offices across the country.

A list of offices which are under threat in Hertfordshire, Cambridgeshire, and Bedfordshire will be announced at the beginning of July, at the start of a six- week public consultation period.

However, The Crow understands that some post offices in the area may find out whether they are to be included in the consultation as early as May 20.

The final list of offices for closure will then be published in September.

North East Herts MP Oliver Heald said: "Post offices are vital to our local communities and are particularly important to pensioners and young mums.

"They are part of the essential infrastructure of our countryside.

"When the announcement is made it will be just before the summer holidays.

"Local residents must make their views known even thought the consultation is during a holiday period.

"It is noticeable that the national timetable has slipped to avoid the local elections," he said.

Mr Heald voted for a motion to stop the closures in House of Commons last month.

Although 20 Labour MP's voted against the government, the motion was narrowly defeated.

The Royston MP added that he believes the plans will "damage the weakest members of society."

He said: "I applaud those Labour MPs who voted with us in the lobby.

"Many others agreed with us but just towed the Party line.

"They will rue the day when the local closures are announced and implemented."

Statistics compiled by Post Office Ltd for their Rural Pilot Activity report estimate that there is a 65 - 80 per cent oversupply of service in rural areas.

It is therefore likely that many rural post offices will be among those to be closed.

Satnam Boora, postmaster at Orwell Post Office, said: "Nobody has been told anything.

"We don't really know what's happening yet.

"I would consider that we are always busy and used by a lot of people in the village, but there's no way to gauge whether this will be enough to save us from closure. It's very worrying."

To mitigate the closures, Post Office Ltd plans to introduce 500 outreach services across the country.

These part-time services could take the form of a mobile post office visiting areas on a weekly basis, or a service located within a local venue, such as a pub, village hall, or shop.

Anyone wishing to write to Post Office Ltd about the closures can do so by sending a letter to Freepost Consultation, or emailing consultation@postoffice.co.uk.

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