May 22 2013 Latest news:
Friday, October 26, 2012
A Norfolk village could be about to lose its Post Office unless a new postmaster can be found to replace the existing operator, who is retiring after 29 years.
Jeremy Dore, 64, is set to retire as postmaster for Hingham Post Office in Market Place because he will soon reach the retirement age of 65, leaving the Post Office with the task of finding a replacement.
However, as yet no successor has been found to replace Mr Dore, creating the possibility the facility could have to close.
Mr Dore said running a Post Office was not a particularly attractive option these days due to the low wages on offer for a Postmaster, which he believed were between £12,400 and £14,800.
He added trade had been reasonable, though his Post Office was facing increasing competition from the internet, especially as more customers were now conducting a lot of Post Office business online, especially applying for car tax discs.
However, the web had also provided positives, he said, such as the growing amount of trade generated through auction site eBay.
He added: “I am sad to be leaving the Post Office after 29 years, but I will not be leaving Hingham. The Post Office is part of my property.”
He said the government had also taken on a lot of Post Office work, adding: “We have built up the trade and it has been going steadily, but not enough people in the village have been using it to make it a totally viable option.”
However, a Post Office spokesman said the largest investment and support programme in the company’s history had been started, which would result in 6,000 branches getting a new look, including extended opening hours.
The changes are voluntary and subpostmasters would be given the opportunity to convert, stay as they are or leave the network, which would be subject to the Post Office finding alternative premises nearby.
She said a full public consultation would be held on any new site, adding: “Post Office would like to reassure its customers that we are committed to maintaining Post Office services in Hingham.”
Norfolk turkey giant Bernard Matthews is in talks to sell a stake in the business.