'Secretive' Post Office criticised amid fears over branch's future

Villagers in Hethersett are fighting to keep the Post Office on Great Melton Road.

Villagers in Hethersett are fighting to keep the Post Office on Great Melton Road. - Credit: Google

Parish councillors in a village on the outskirts of Norwich have described the Post Office's response to their questions over the future of their local branch as "disingenuous".

Last month members of Hethersett Parish Council outlined their intention to fight to secure the future of the village's branch after the current postmaster Kevin Salmon stated his intention to retire at some point in 2021.

At a parish council meeting held in November, chair Adrienne Quinlan said: “We are monitoring the situation and doing everything we can to keep the post office in the village.”

They had written to the Post Office on November 9 to outline their concerns over the branch's future.

A reply was sent on November 18, which was read aloud at a meeting held over Zoom on Monday, December 21.

The Post Office's response to the council read: "Our local team are aware of the issue with the lease on the premises, however at this time the postmaster has not provided us with any potential closing date for the branch.


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"We understand and appreciate how much communities rely on our services and we are already making plans for the area following any closure. I can confirm that the branch is currently advertised on our website and we would welcome interest from anyone who may be interested in this opportunity."

At the meeting, councillor Bridget Williamson said: "I thought the reply was totally unsatisfactory. I do think they need to be challenged, or we will just lose our Post Office.

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"This is just a fobbing-off letter, and if we allow ourselves to be fobbed off then we will lose our Post Office without a fight."

Stephen Slack, the council's vice-chair, added: "I think the letter there is disingenuous. [The postmaster] told me that they are not prepared to spend money on re-siting it somewhere else.

"For someone else to take it, they have got to fund it themselves, so I think they are being a little bit secretive."

The council intends to write back to the Post Office in the New Year to request more specific details about the search for a new person to run the village's branch, and to invite a representative to attend a Zoom meeting with councillors to discuss the matter further.

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