Protestors stand firm over post offices

MORE than 400 people are expected to pack into a public meeting as Post Office bosses explain to residents why local branches are closing.Managers announced at the end of last month they will shut 16 branches in west Suffolk - bringing the total number facing the axe in the county to 50.

John Howard

MORE than 400 people are expected to pack into a public meeting as Post Office bosses explain to residents why local branches are closing.

Managers announced at the end of last month they will shut 16 branches in west Suffolk - bringing the total number facing the axe in the county to 50.

Campaigners said it was a dark day and warned that it could sound the death knoll for many communities.

But residents in Stowmarket are determined to fight the plan, which they feel will damage their town as branches in Crown Street and Combs Ford are proposed for closure.

Now a public meeting has been called to try and save the Crown Street branch, and to meet Post Office representatives and the town's MP, David Ruffley.

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Rosie Carter, a Stowmarket resident who is among those leading the campaign to save the cherished local service, said today: “The EU dictates that the Post Office must be taken out of public ownership and compete with the private sector and, as a result, over 2,500 branches will be closed nationwide.

“The service was losing £4million per week in 2006, as they have withdrawn core work from branches which have inevitably led to cuts in profits.

“Unfortunately for us, even though it is a thriving and profit making branch, Crown Street is on the proposed list and we have until June 2 to get in our objections and make our views felt.

“There are many local, elderly and frail residents who cannot physically walk the extra 1.4miles round trip to our next nearest Post Office in Stowmarket town centre.

“There are many branches that have far less custom and turnover who are staying open, which does not make financial sense. This is not a loss making branch.

“Stowmarket is an expanding town and needs more local services, not less. They are the social hub of the community and a vital lifeline, especially for many people who live alone.”

A spokeswoman for the Post Office said that they are currently consulting about the future of the branch, it is a fairly long process, and there will be no announcement until June or July.

For more details about the public meeting on Friday, May 16 at 6.30pm, at the Stowmarket Resource Centre in Crown Street, Stowmarket, call Rosie Carter 01449 677497 or 01449 616204, or e-mail rosiej.carter@virgin.net

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

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