Council's post offices pledges

Fighting to keep post office closures to a minimum will be a priority for North Norfolk District Council if a motion, put forward by the council's scrutiny committee, is adopted.

Fighting to keep post office closures to a minimum will be a priority for North Norfolk District Council if a motion put forward by its scrutiny committee is adopted.

An unknown number of the district's 54 post offices could be under threat when the government starts to implement its Network Change programme next year.

That will see up to 2,500 of the 14,300 branches across the country closing.

The district council has already conducted research to identify the locations of all the post offices in the area, their opening hours and their proximity to each other but has yet to consult individual branches about their viability.

Public consultations on what is to happen in north Norfolk are expected to take place next March, but at the scrutiny meeting council member Eric Seaward called on the council to adopt a formal position on the issue quickly.

He said: "It seems to me that the district council has to say that we do not want to see any post offices closed.

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"However, we need to acknowledge that the government is embarking on a programme which will see post offices shut.

"We have to accept that we are where we are and say that we will rigorously work to keep closures to a minimum."

The proposal was adopted unanimously by the committee and will now go before the next meeting of the full council. Councillors also asked that talks be held with the National Federation of SubPostmasters.

The Post Office says it has seen a significant reduction in the number of customers as more transactions are conducted over the internet and pensions and benefits are increasingly paid directly into people's bank accounts.

The closure programme aims to cut the losses of the post office network, which stand at around £4m a

week.

The government has promised that 99pc of the UK population will continue to be within three miles of their nearest post office, with 95pc being within three miles of their nearest branch in rural areas.

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