Campaign to save post office


Staff reporter (Border Counties)

CAMPAIGNERS have set up a petition to safeguard the future of a rural post office.
Glyn Ceiriog residents are battling a potential closure of the facility on Maybury Avenue in favour of a counter service within another village shop claiming it will disadvantage villagers, particularly the elderly, who will feel even more isolated.
The Post Office’s ‘network transformation’ plan involves many previously stand alone post offices becoming integrated into other businesses and the company claims the changes are prompting a 95 customer satisfaction rating.
But in a letter to Paula Vennells, chief executive of Post Office Limited, campaigner Mark Ward called the decision “inappropriate” and “ill-considered” and has set up a petition, which has already collected nearly 200 signatures, to try and save the Post Office shop.

He told Ms Vennells: “You fail to recognise the significance of rural post offices.
“They are an essential community service, particularly in rural areas.
“Apparently 99 per cent of the population live within three miles of a post office but this is not the case in Glyn Ceiriog, and neither will a counter in the already busy local shop fill the gap left by closure of our village post office.”
A spokesman for the Post Office said there was no threat to Post Office services in Glyn Ceiriog and the changes, where already instigated, had “brought huge benefits for customers through longer opening hours, ability to access a wider range of services, shorter waiting times and increased convenience”.
But Mr Ward described the post office as a village hub which provides “essential services” and a “great cafe” and is the only shop in the village to sell tourist goods and local produce.
It also functions as a tourist information point, community internet service and bank and, due to a proposed reduction in public transport, many residents have little option to find an alternative elsewhere, he said.
Staff at the Post Office revealed they were fighting to maintain the status quo and thanked residents and fellow businesspeople who are backing the campaign to keep the existing service open.
Isabelle Waine, of Llanarmon Road, said the opening of a Post Office counter in another shop would be a double blow as it would diminish the number of products available to villagers unable to shop further afield by taking up valuable shelf space.
She said: “We are currently in a situation where the daily bus services are going to be cut resulting in more people, specifically the elderly, unemployed, young mothers and farmers, relying on the improvement of grocery services from their local store.
“If the post office services were to be offered, and accepted by another shop, there would be diminution of both postal and grocery services which would not benefit the community in any way.”
Mr Ward told Post Office: “We urge you to keep this valuable community resource open and commit to continuing its service to our community.”

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