Anger over sudden PO closure

POST Office chiefs today face further backlash for their handling of the branch closures in north east Ipswich.Ruskin Road postmistress Bridget Weller was "shocked" to be given only two weeks' notice of her closing date and a leading councillor has expressed his "disappointment" at the whole consultation process.

POST Office chiefs today face further backlash for their handling of the branch closures in north east Ipswich.

Ruskin Road postmistress Bridget Weller was "shocked" to be given only two weeks' notice of her closing date and a leading councillor has expressed his "disappointment" at the whole consultation process.

As revealed in the Evening Star on Saturday, the official closing dates of some branches were announced last week, giving sub postmasters and sub postmistresses a fortnight to tie up loose ends.

The Ruskin Road branch will close on Tuesday, August 17, with the St John's branch in Spring Road shutting on August 23.


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The new Cauldwell Hall Road Co-op Post Office, which was adapted to appease angry customers in the area, will open on August 16.

Mrs Weller complained this latest chapter in a long-running process has been badly organised.

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She said: "It was quite a shock as it was very short notice for the customers and ourselves.

"They kept us waiting for so many months and to give us two weeks' notice is rather uncaring to say the least.

"Quite a few of our customers collect their benefit fortnightly or monthly. So if they don't see it in the paper they will find it shut the next time they come. It is not a very good service to offer."

She added she was still waiting for instructions from her manager about the process involved in shutting the store.

Paul West, Conservative prospective parliamentary candidate, said: "When I found out the dates had been set, I was a little surprised by the short time scale. I would have expected it to be six to eight weeks. It doesn't take account of the people who are managing the closure."

A fierce battle has taken place between the Post Office and the public since several closures across Ipswich were announced earlier this year, with thousands of residents signing petitions.

Mr West, who organised a public consultation meeting in March, feels the whole process has been badly handled by the Post Office.

He added: "Disappointment and not surprise is relevant to people's feelings about it at the moment because there is a cynicism that the Post Office has gone through the consultation process when the decisions had already been taken.

"The big organisations tend to ride rough shod over the general public and do exactly as it pleases."

A spokeswoman for the Post Office said: "We have given Mrs Weller sufficient notice. She was told that the date was to be announced in the near future. She was well aware that the branch was closing."

She added: "All closure dates are agreed with the exiting sub postmaster or sub postmistress. Customer advisors are available at branches, up to the date of closure, for our customers and branch staff to help and support them through any changes in the network."

How do you feel now the death knell for the Post Offices has sounded? Call Simon Tomlinson on 01473 324838 or e-mail him at simon.tomlinson@eveningstar.co.uk

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