MP holds emergency meeting over town’s post office closure
PUBLISHED: 17:01 07 September 2018
An MP held an emergency meeting to discuss the future of a town’s only post office, which has been closed for nearly two months.
South West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss met with town and borough councillors in Downham Market on Friday to put questions to Post Office external affairs manager Ken Penton.
The High Street branch closed on July 12 with no explanation and customers are travelling more than a mile away to the nearest branches in Denver and Wimbotsham.
Ms Truss and councillors asked Mr Penton for solutions while the date of when the post office will reopen remains unclear.
Councillor John Doyle said Mr Penton could not give a reason for why the post office, and the entire WHSmith store, closed due to legal reasons.
“We told him of the difficulties people are facing,” Mr Doyle added. “Especially older people who can’t get their pension and they are having to pay £12 to get a taxi to Denver or Wimbotsham every time. “They can’t put in a temporary postmaster for legal reasons and when we asked for a mobile post office they said they didn’t have one available in the whole eastern region, which is a bit ridiculous.”
Councillor Becky Hayes, who also attended the meeting, said: “We asked him to come back with some solutions within a week. “We shared our disappointment with him and we felt communication has been particularly poor and they [the Post Office] haven’t handled the situation as well as they could’ve done.” Ms Hayes said councillors will be seeking compensation for customers who have had to take a taxi to the nearest branches.
Ms Truss has raised the matter to Business Secretary Greg Clark after writing to the chief executive of the Post Office for action to be taken.
Speaking after the meeting, she said: “I am very disappointed that Downham Market post office has closed for so long. Lots of people are struggling to get to Wimbotsham and Denver.
“What I have said today at the meeting with the post office and local councillors is I would like to see the post office either reopen next week or get a temporary van in place.”