July 26 2014 Latest news:
Wednesday, June 4, 2014
People worried about the future of a south Norfolk post office will have the chance to have their say at a public meeting on Friday.
Mid-Norfolk MP George Freeman has organised the meeting as part of a movement to keep a post office in Hingham.
Concerns were raised after current Postmasters Jeremy and Pat Dore decided to retire in 2012 after 30 years in the role, prompting the Post Office Ltd to invite applications to run the business.
The couple put the Post Office in agency hands last year – but the company has been unable to find a buyer or alternative premises to house a counter in.
Mrs Dore said: “Like many other postmasters we had always expected that we would be able to sell our business - to provide for our retirement, to continue to provide jobs for our staff and a service for our customers.
“We are devastated that we will now have to make our much valued staff - who have worked so hard providing a service to the community for many years, and have continued working for the agency - redundant.”
Mrs Dore said that running a Post Office was not an attractive option for many, due to the low wages of a Postmaster, which she believed were between £12,400 and £14,800.
“It isn’t too difficult to see why nobody has come forward,” she said.
If the Post Office closes, those living in the town will be forced to travel to Wymondham or Watton – something Peter Eldridge, chair of Hingham Town Council, said is not viable.
“We have quite a lot of businesses in the town who do rely on sending things out by post. Even for people like myself, to top up my mobile phone or get some money out. It’s a vital organ for the village,” he added.
Mr Freeman said: “Post offices are the hubs of our rural towns and villages. The retirement of the current owners of the post office has thrown into doubt the future of this vital facility for Hingham.”
The possible closure of the post office marks part of a trend which last year saw thousands of similar branches around the country struggling for survival.
A campaign to modernise the post office was introduced, with earlier opening and later closing hours aimed to encourage more trade.
The meeting will be held at 6pm on Friday, June 6 at the Lincoln Hall, near the Fairlands Green.
What do you think should happen to the Post Office? Contact reporter Lauren Cope on email@example.com