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Post Office reviewing situation in east Ipswich after mysterious closure of Heath News newsagents

PUBLISHED: 12:19 05 June 2017 | UPDATED: 16:03 05 June 2017

The closed notice at Heath Road Post Office. Picture: EMILY TOWNSEND

The closed notice at Heath Road Post Office. Picture: EMILY TOWNSEND

Archant

The Post Office has said it is reviewing how its services can be provided in east Ipswich after the mysterious closure of Heath News has forced the Post Office to also close.

Heath Road Post Office has closed suddenly. Picture: EMILY TOWNSENDHeath Road Post Office has closed suddenly. Picture: EMILY TOWNSEND

On Friday, staff and customers at the newsagents on the corner of Heath Road and Foxhall Road found the unit locked and a sign in place merely saying “closed”.

Customers reported that they had not had their newspaper deliveries, while members of staff were understood not to have been informed of the closure.

The shop has remained closed over the weekend and on Monday, although the reason and expected length of the closure are not yet clear.

A sign said the Post Office was “temporarily closed”.

Heath News on Heath Road is temporary closed. Heath News on Heath Road is temporary closed.

The closure of the newsagents has meant that the Post Office, which is located inside the building, has also been unable to open.

Now, Post Office has said it is being forced to review how it provides its service in the area.

A spokeswoman said: “Unfortunately Heath Road Post Office has been closed since Friday due to operational reasons beyond our control.

“We apologise for any inconvenience caused by the temporary closure of the branch, which was unexpected.

“We will now look to see how Post Office services can be provided to the area.

“Alternative branches include Rushmere Heath, Queens Way, Cauldwell Hall Road and Selkirk Road.”

While the Post Office has an office within the newsagents, its is not a part of the same company.

But despite the firms being separate, Post Office staff at the Heath News unit cannot be relocated to other branches because they are employed directly by the postmaster – usually the owner of the premises it is located within – and not the Post Office itself.

The spokeswoman added: “Heath Road Post Office is not directly managed by Post Office Ltd. Therefore, staff were employed by the postmaster.

“It is the postmaster who is responsible for paying the wages of staff, the transfer of employees to any new employee and any redundancy.”

It is not clear whether the owner of Heath News is also the postmaster in this case. No-one at Heath News was available to comment.

In the meantime, newspaper distribution firm Suffolk News Deliveries said it is attempting to step in and continue deliveries for customers affected by the closure.

Ipswich businessman Arron Rose, who runs the firm, knew one of the paper deliverers who worked for Heath News and is trying to launch a home delivery service for all those people that have been affected.

“We’ve been in contact with all the paper deliverers who were left with out a job to offer them the chance to continue under our management, and we are continuing to do leaflet drops and door knocking in many roads that Heath News delivered to,” he said.

“As a gesture of goodwill we are paying the paperboys and girls the wages they did not get from Heath News.”

If you have been left without a newspaper delivery following the closure, you can get in touch with Suffolk News Deliveries on 01473 396328.

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