Post office closures rock Suffolk

POST offices across Suffolk were today facing the axe as the Royal Mail published a list of branches set for closure over the next few months.Four post offices in Ipswich are set to be closed and another ten rural offices in south east Suffolk are under threat.

POST offices across Suffolk were today facing the axe as the Royal Mail published a list of branches set for closure over the next few months.

Four post offices in Ipswich are set to be closed and another ten rural offices in south east Suffolk are under threat.

A further nine post offices in the area are set to be replaced by a part-time or visiting post office service as part of an “outreach” solution to cut costs.

In Ipswich the four post offices facing closure include that at Fore Street - in the heart of the expanding Waterfront area of the town.

Throughout Suffolk and east Essex the Royal Mail is set to close 67 branches leaving 340 open for business.

A total of 16 communities would be served by “outreach services.” This could include a branch in a privately-owned business open for only a few hours each week or a mobile post office visiting at set times each week.

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Sheila McCann, Post Office Network Development Manager for East Essex and Suffolk said: “Taking the decision to close any Post Office branch is always very difficult and we know will cause concern to many of our customers.

“We want to ensure that everyone who uses, relies on or has any concern with Post Office services is both fully aware of the proposed changes, and able to give views on them.”

The changes will leave 234 branches in rural areas and 122 in urban areas.

People have six weeks to comment on the proposals and a final decision on closure is due to be taken in 12 weeks' time.

The Royal Mail claims 99 per cent of people in the area will be unaffected by the change or will live less than a mile away from an alternative branch.

Anyone wishing to comment should visit www.postoffice.co.uk/networkchange or write to Post Office Ltd at Freepost Consultation - no stamp is necessary.

A spokeswoman for Age Concern said: “We are very worried that the six-week consultation does not give enough time for local people to give their views.

“We are particularly worried about the older people who are the main users of post offices.

“Closures without suitable replacement could leave older more vulnerable people without access to the essential services they rely on.

“We would urge anyone concerned about the closures in their area to get in touch with their local MP or councillor to make sure they get their voice heard.”

A sub postmaster, who did not want to be named, said she was unhappy that her branch had been earmarked for closure.

She said: “It is a very small village and a small post office but it is needed by the community.

“Most of the older members of the community find it difficult to go out and get on a bus.”

Woodbridge councillor Les Binns said the loss of the Hasketon Road post office in the town would be a big blow.

“It is a very busy post office and well used by a lot of elderly people - it is a great shame. I believe this may now only leave Woodbridge with one post office in the town centre,” he said.

Post offices in south east Suffolk due to close are:

Dennington

Great Bealings

Hacheston

Norwich Road, Ipswich.

Cretingham

Fore Street, Ipswich

London Road, Ipswich

Christchurch Street, Ipswich.

Burstall

Copdock

Hasketon Road, Woodbridge

Knodishall

Martlesham BT Research.

The branch at Honeycroft, Lawford in north Essex is also due to close.

Outreach solutions planned for:

Bedfield.

Coddenham.

Little Stonham.

Pettaugh.

Witnesham.

Nacton.

Sutton.

Ufford.

Waldringfield.

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