Beccles post office service closes despite campaign efforts

A post office counter service at Beccles closed yesterday after two campaigns to keep it open failed to inspire more people to use it.

Separate campaigns were launched to help save the service at the East of England Co-operative Society, in Rigbourne Hill, Beccles, but despite hundreds of people backing them, the counter service in the shop has now closed.

Former Waveney MP Bob Blizzard, who was responsible for one of the campaigns, said it was a 'tragedy for the local community'.

'It is most disappointing as we distributed 1,000 leaflets around the area saying use it to save it, but sadly we did not see an increase in custom,' he said.

'It is very sad and very bad news for that area of Beccles. It will put pressure on the post office in town again with queuing, which is why it opened in the first place.'

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The post office service was officially opened in February 2000 by minister Alan Johnson and Mr Blizzard with the hope of easing queues in the town centre post office.

In recent years the service had become unprofitable leading to the Co-op announcing a consultation into its use in May.

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However it did not see an increase in use, and although the society and post office held 'lengthy negotiations' they were unable to find a 'mutually-agreeable solution'.

Mr Blizzard said that the people of Beccles had missed out as a result.

'Because they can't agree on a solution, the local community find themselves in the worst of all worlds with it closing,' he said.

Roger Grosvenor, East of England Co-operative Society executive officer for retail, said that the decision was taken after a decline in use of the service.

'It is always a difficult decision to close any branch and we are always mindful of our responsibility to our members and the important services we provide to local communities,' he said.

Mr Grosvenor added that since the proposed closure had been announced in May, there had not been an increase in trade.

A Post Office spokesman said: 'We are committed to re-establishing a Post Office service in the area as soon as possible and are working hard to do so.'

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