Joy at opening of new post office
A COMMUNITY leader today hailed the opening of a new Post Office in north-east Ipswich after a long campaign against branch closures.Post Office chiefs agreed to open a counter at the Co-op in Cauldwell Hall Road as a peace offering to residents affected by the shutdowns.
A COMMUNITY leader today hailed the opening of a new Post Office in north-east Ipswich after a long campaign against branch closures.
Post Office chiefs agreed to open a counter at the Co-op in Cauldwell Hall Road as a peace offering to residents affected by the shutdowns.
St John's councillor Neil MacDonald described it as a "victory" for customers who fought to keep a branch in the area after the Ruskin Road and Spring Road stores were destined to close.
Mr MacDonald, who was one of the first in line when the new branch opened on Monday, said: "It's really great to see that campaigning does pay off.
"The help from the Co-op will ensure the long term future of this valuable community service and it means we won't have another long campaign again.
"Seeing this one smack in the middle of huge residential estate is a real coup."
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The Ruskin Road branch closed on Tuesday and the Spring Road store is winding down for closure this Monday.
Staff from the Spring Road and Felixstowe branches have been re-located to the new site to help with continuity and keep familiar faces in the area.
Residents fought in vain to save their branches during a consultation period earlier this year after the Post Office announced several closures throughout the town.
Many pensioners argued they would have too far to walk and would not be able to collect their pensions, but Mr MacDonald defended the Post Office's decisions in the face of tough competition.
He said: "The Post Office is trying a rationalisation programme in a thoughtful way so it will have a long-term future rather than leaving it up to the market to decide. People who retire now tend to have their money paid into the bank.
"If you look at a rural area where they had a round of Post Office closures on the 1990s, most were moved to village shops as it is the only way they can be viable."
A Post Office spokeswoman said: "We are pleased to announce the opening of a new site in partnership with Ipswich Co-operative. The new branch is the latest in modern open plan layouts.
"We are pleased that three members of staff who worked at the recently closed St Johns and Felixstowe branches, at our recommendation, are to work at the brand new site. This is a great partnership between the Post Office Limited and the Ipswich Cco-operative."
Miriam Harrup, of the Co-op said: "We are delighted to provide this additional facility for the community from our local food store."