Postal campaign on despite U-turn

A petition to save two north Norfolk postal sorting offices is being continued by vigilant campaigners – despite Royal Mail's U-turn over closure plans.

The company announced on Friday that it had cancelled plans to close its delivery offices in Wells and Holt and move the sorting operations to Fakenham as part of a modernisation and cost-saving process.

But the news was greeted with muted celebrations from campaigners, who questioned how the decision was reached and the speed of the 'volte-face', which came just 16 days after the initial plans were advised to staff.

North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb said it was important to continue to illustrate the strength of public feeling and to guard against any further reversals of the plan.

A petition of 1,000 signatures was presented to Mr Lamb at Wells Post Office on Saturday, while 2,000 more had also been collected in Holt, bringing the total to more than 5,000 names added to printed and online forms.


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Mr Lamb said: 'We have all been quite shocked, considering that two weeks ago there seemed to be a determination to close these offices down. There has been a complete volte-face, and we should celebrate that and the collective efforts of everybody who has helped to achieve it. But we must always remain vigilant and not let our guard slip. 'There would be all hell to pay if Royal Mail changed their decision again. But their statement is very clear that these offices will remain open so we must take that at face value and regard this as a well-fought and successful campaign.'

The six workers at the Wells office said they wanted to thank local shops for carrying the petitions and for all the people living in surrounding areas who had shown their support.

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Mike Gates, a Wells postman and town councillor, said: 'There is still a bit of cynicism there. They came out with this idea 16 days ago, but there is no real statement as to how they have changed their mind. What we want to make sure is that there is not another statement in six or eight weeks time.

'We would like it to be firmed up but we are very, very pleased if this is the outcome because we were fearful of this move decreasing the local service and not making use of local knowledge.'

The letter sent by Royal Mail Anglia operations director Nicola Scrivings says: 'Royal Mail constantly reviews the operational efficiency and commercial practicality of all its units. We have reconfigured our operational plans and this means that we will be retaining our offices in Holt and Wells to serve customers.'

chris.hill@archant.co.uk

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