Campaign ends to save post office

AN EIGHT-month campaign to save another Suffolk post office from closure has finally ended today.Despite desperate attempts by residents, Ipswich Borough Council and Postwatch, Wherstead Road Post Office looks set to close – the sixth to close this year despite a public outcry.

AN EIGHT-month campaign to save another Suffolk post office from closure has finally ended today.

Despite desperate attempts by residents, Ipswich Borough Council and Postwatch, Wherstead Road Post Office looks set to close - the sixth to close this year despite a public outcry.

Those battling to keep the branch open have given up their fight after Post Office Limited rejected a last ditch attempt to save the branch.

Phillip Smart, Labour councillor for Bridge ward said he was disappointed at the Post Office's response.


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He said: "We have bent over backwards to do everything we possibly could to persuade the Post Office there is a case to keep it open and we thought we were in with a reasonable chance.

"We have worked extremely hard, everyone is disappointed and the community will be disappointed."

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Ipswich councillors had stepped in with an ambitious attempt to save the Austin Street post office last month by suggesting alternatives to its closure.

It is thought plans included moving the post office to an expanded Ipswich General Store in Austin Street just yards away from the current one.

Mr Smart confirmed the council owned the shopping parade in Austin Street and had been working with a shopkeeper to construct an alternative.

He said the council had even agreed to pay some capital costs towards the refurbishment because they believed it was vital to the area.

Linda McCord of Postwatch East of England said: "We are not continuing our opposition to the closure.

"Postwatch and Ipswich council have done everything they can to try to come up with an alternative but Post Office Limited do not feel it would be viable in that part of Ipswich."

One of the residents opposing plans to close the branch in Austin Street said she was disgusted by the news.

Patricia Frost calls at the post office once a week to collect her mother's pension and says many elderly people depend on the service.

She said: "Are they going to ferry pensioners to Fore Street (the nearest alternative branch) or leave them to their own devices - a lot of them have got zimmerframes.

"My mum is all right because she has got me and my sister but I can't imagine how others are going to get to Fore Street.

"There are a lot of pensioners in that area."

Although a final decision on the Wherstead Road branch has not yet been made Post Office Limited confirmed it was imminent.

A spokeswoman for Post Office Limited said: "All of the feedback received during the consultation is considered when making a final decision on the future of a post office branch.

"We can confirm that the report provided by the local council has been considered in line with our proposal for the Wherstead Road Post Office branch.

"In addition discussions have continued with Postwatch who have recently withdrawn their opposition to our proposal for this branch.

"No final decision has been taken on Wherstead Road as yet. However, we hope to be in a position to make an announcement to our customers shortly."

The Wherstead Road Post Office was one of the six proposed branch closures to be announced in February.

Branches in Felixstowe Road, Spring Road, Ruskin Road, Barrack Corner and Ulster Avenue have all now closed and a new post office counter has opened in the Co-op in Caudwell Hall Road.

What do you think about Post Office closures? Write in to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or email eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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