'Completely unacceptable' - MP slams prospect of post office closure
PUBLISHED: 12:49 09 January 2020 | UPDATED: 12:49 09 January 2020
An MP has labelled the prospect of a town losing its only post office as "completely unacceptable".
Jerome Mayhew, member of parliament for Broadland, says he is fighting to secure the future of the post office at Martin's newsagent on Miller's Walk, Fakenham.
News of Martin's' closure was first revealed in August last year, when McColl's Retail Group confirmed a decision had been taken not to renew its lease.
McColl's agreed to continue operating the store and post office within until early 2020 - beyond its notice period - and said support would be provided for staff.
Both Martin's and the post office were originally scheduled to shut on January 31 but, last week, Post Office confirmed its closing date had been brought forward to January 20 - potentially leaving the town without a branch sooner than expected.
With less than two weeks until the revised closure date, Mr Mayhew says he has received assurances that the service could be salvaged.
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He said: "As soon as I heard there were doubts over the future of Fakenham's post office, I raised it with their senior management to make it clear it would be completely unacceptable for Fakenham to be without a post office, even temporarily.
"The post office is a vital service to the local community, and as such they have advised me they are straining every sinew to ensure there is no disruption in Fakenham.
"Indeed, they are currently in the process of recruiting a temporary postmaster to be in post before the service is scheduled to close."
The MP added that the company's response "sounds like positive news" and pledged to work with the Post Office over the coming days.
Last week a Post Office spokesman said: "Customers should be assured that we are committed to maintaining a Post Office service in Fakenham and will work hard to deliver this.
"We are currently assessing options to maintain service while we work to identify a permanent solution."
Retailers interested in running the Miller's Walk post office and incorporating it into their business can ring 0333 345 5560 and choose option two.
Alternatively, email ND.firstname.lastname@example.org or visit runapostoffice.co.uk where the final date for applications is listed as May 28, 2020.