Closure fight stepped up

RESIDENTS today vowed to keep fighting against the closure of five Post Offices in Ipswich.More than 2,500 people have signed a number of petitions after the Evening Star revealed that the Post Office plan to close premises at Austin Street, Barrack Corner, Felixstowe Road, Ruskin Road and Spring Road.

RESIDENTS today vowed to keep fighting against the closure of five Post Offices in Ipswich.

More than 2,500 people have signed a number of petitions after the Evening Star revealed that the Post Office plan to close premises at Austin Street, Barrack Corner, Felixstowe Road, Ruskin Road and Spring Road.

At a heated public meeting last night at Clifford Road Primary School, it was revealed that residents will know in one month what branches will be closing.

George Hooper, head of the Post Office's eastern region commercial operation, defended the proposals.

He said: "We are in a consultation process, no final decisions have been made and none will be made before the end of March.

"We are currently in a programme looking at losing approximately one third of all Post Offices, just under 3,000 out of 9,000.

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"Last year we lost nearly £190million. There is an insufficient volume of business to keep 9,000 offices open. We need to close some of them and we have had to make some very difficult decisions.

"We cannot continue to make a loss of almost £200million a year and we cannot have a Post Office on every street corner."

About 100 people attended the meeting and one resident told Mr Hooper: "I am so angry with what you are doing to these elderly people. Where is your heart?"

Mr Hooper added that the consultation process ends on March 30 and final decisions on which branches are to close will be made three weeks after that.

The Post Offices would stay open for at least another month so they would not be closing before mid-May at the earliest.

Mr Hooper revealed that if the branches in Felixstowe Road, Ruskin Road and Spring Road all closed, then another Post Office will be opened in Hines Road.

However, this idea was not well received as people would have to cross a number of "dangerous" roads at the junction of Felixstowe, Derby and Hatfield Road.

Ipswich's prospective parliamentary candidate Paul West, who called the meeting, said: "Many areas of Ipswich are affected by the proposed closures but this community in east Ipswich will be hit hardest.

"All five Post Offices earmarked for closure are a vital part of their

community. They must not be lost and we will do everything within our power to save them. We urge Mr Hooper and the Post Office to do so too."

nWhat do you think of the proposed closures? How long would you have to travel to your nearest Post Office? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk or visit the forum at www.eveningstar.co.uk.

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