Post office - we were not consulted
WE have been involved with trying to save Earith Post Office. After being informed of the post offices to be closed, we attended a meeting at Huntingdonshire District Council with a number of MPs, county, district and parish councillors, at which we were
WE have been involved with trying to save Earith Post Office. After being informed of the post offices to be closed, we attended a meeting at Huntingdonshire District Council with a number of MPs, county, district and parish councillors, at which we were instructed to make all our protests to Post Office Ltd.
The village was very angry at the proposal to close our post office, so we held public meetings, protest marches (many of the people had never been involved protest of that type before), by the use of newspapers, radio and petitions, unfortunately all to no avail.
The whole process was and is totally flawed. We had sent all our protest letters to Post Office, with any additional information we believed had been missed from their reasons for the closure. There were letters of objection from local businesses, 68 companies that would be most affected, along with letters of objection from the local population, the detailing of a proposed new development of 150 houses to be built in the village, with bad access to the next village for the less mobile of the community.
With these and a lot more reasons why we objected to the proposed closure, we considered we had covered most of the angles. We worked in close co-operation with the sub-post master, Andrew Ballard, Cllr Steve Criswell, Shailesh Vara MP, unfortunately with very little help from the district and county councils.
Then to our surprise, after the date for representations on August 29, we received a letter from a group that called itself the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Post Office Network Change Group, on behalf of Cambridgeshire Together. Its motto is "working together to improve our quality of life". With one tick in a box the fate of our post office was doomed.
We were not informed about his group until it was too late to make any representations to the group, which did not consider making contact with anyone with addition information that could have been considered to be information that could have may a difference. In its response brief it said members had held meetings with councillors, parish councils and other interested groups. If this was the case, the questions should be asked who, what, when and where?
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The remit seemed to be to consider only whether government guidelines had been broken with the closures. While we have to accept that the closure will take place, we believe that more could have been done to help try to save the post office by the county and district councils, with more backing and a full list of interested parties that could have influence the decision. There should be financial support to keep these post offices open.
It is the only remaining shop in the village, and we are sure it will survive, but one service needs the other: people use both facilities. To ensure this shop remains viable it needs the post office, as the post office needs the shop to bring in more customers. It is part of our village life and we do not wish to lose it.
Let's hope the electorate remembers who helped our cause next time at the elections.
Earith Parish Council