MP steps in to clarify post office's future

Friday, 24 October, 2008

An attack on Post Office Ltd was launched this week by MP David Ruffley over its "shameful" handling of the closure of Gislingham Post Office.

Mr Ruffley lobbied Network Development Manager Laura Tarling to make a final decision about the future of the branch in a letter posted on Monday.

The Gislingham branch was earmarked for closure as part of the Post Office Ltd's Network Change Progamme, which ended in June, and a decision was made to replace it with an outreach service.

But since the announcement, no such service has been found, leaving sub-postmaster Geoff Laurence 'in limbo.'

Mr Ruffley said: 'This uncertainty is causing a great deal of concern in Gislingham, not only to the postmaster, who cannot plan for the future, but also to his customers who fear they may lose their post office. It is shameful'

Mr Laurence said: 'It is not so much what the outcome will be but we just want a decision either way.

'This is no way to carry on a business.'

A Post Office spokesman said a suitable outreach solution was still being sought but that sometimes this process could be lengthy.

'We stand by our commitment to keep the current branch open to serve customers until the outreach is in place,' she said.

The latest Post Office to close was Scole, which shut its doors on October 13. Other branches axed in the recent wave of closures included Tacolneston and Bressingham.

Former Scole sub postmaster Kim Charles said she is optimistic about the future of the attached shop but added: 'People are finding it difficult to actually get to a post office, and with Christmas coming, I think it will be a nightmare, especially with the mail that needs to go overseas.'

At Dickleburgh post office- two miles from Scole- there have already been signs of extra customers, with a 25 per cent increase in business, according to sub-postmaster Bob Greenwood.