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'Disrespectful' u-turn sees closure of town's only post office

PUBLISHED: 15:08 19 January 2020 | UPDATED: 10:52 20 January 2020

Broadland MP Jerome Mayhew slams potential closure of Fakenham post office. Picture: JEROME MEYHEW

Broadland MP Jerome Mayhew slams potential closure of Fakenham post office. Picture: JEROME MEYHEW

Archant

A town's only post office will be closing its doors - despite avid attempts to retain its services.

Based at Martin's newsagents on Miller's Walk, Fakenham, the branch's closure was first revealed last year.

An announcement from McColl's Retail Group in August confirmed the newsagent's lease would not be renewed.

Since then, efforts have been made to keep the post office open but to no avail.

Two weeks ago, Broadland MP Jerome Mayhew pledged to work with the Post Office and said he had received assurances that the service could be salvaged.

But in an unfortunate u-turn, the branch will now close from Monday, January 20, and instead be replaced with a temporary mobile service.

Mr Mayhew said he was "outraged" at the decision.

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"The Post Office is a large organisation more than capable of organising a temporary replacement service, particularly when they have had two years in which to plan it.

"So the decision to provide a service only between 1pm and 4pm is a commercial choice.

"It is outrageous that a town of the size and importance of Fakenham should be treated with such disrespect. I will not let this lie and will continue to pursue the Post Office until we get an acceptable resolution."

In a letter from Post Office senior management to Mr Mayhew, it claimed the company had worked "till the eleventh hour" to resolve the problem.

The letter continued: "Unfortunately, a number of factors, including some insuperable legal barriers, have now made it impossible to maintain services at the current location.

"We sincerely apologise for any inconvenience this may cause to customers in Fakenham.

"I want you to be in no doubt that we have made every effort to avoid this temporary closure and, indeed, we were hopeful that we would be able to keep Fakenham Post Office open.

"The closure at the current site is, unfortunately, now unavoidable and as a result we have now stepped up our plans to provide a temporary solution."

The mobile post office service will begin on January 23 in the market square. Customers are being encouraged to use alternative branches, which include Little Snoring, which is around four miles away, Great Ryburgh and Holt.

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