Post offices on closure hit-list

HUNTINGDONSHIRE can expect to lose more of its post offices as part of a national shake-up, says to an industry watchdog. And Postwatch, the advisory body for post office customers, was warned this week that communities will need to fight for their local

HUNTINGDONSHIRE can expect to lose more of its post offices as part of a national shake-up, says to an industry watchdog.

And Postwatch, the advisory body for post office customers, was warned this week that communities will need to fight for their local service if they want to keep them.

Dr Charles Winstanley, chairman of Postwatch in the East of England, told The Hunts Post: "So many post offices are so wholly unviable that many proposed closures are not difficult to agree with.

"The primary factor when looking at closure is usage, and with many rural post offices suffering from low usage, it is self-evident which are likely to be closed.

"It is up to the public to let the Post Office know how closures might affect them - for example, in areas with no public transport."

A hit-list of post offices earmarked for closure in Cambridgeshire will be published at the start of next June. People will then have six weeks to give their opinions on whether the closures should go ahead.

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Postwatch wants communities to make their feelings known if they believe their post office is worthy of being saved.

Across the country, one in five post offices will be affected by the changes.

The Post Office has set targets stating that, following the closures, 90 per cent of the UK population will still be within one mile of a post office, and 99 per cent within three miles.

This breaks down into 95 per cent of the urban population being within one mile, and 95 per cent of the rural population being with three miles.

There are 1,500 post offices in the East of England and Postwatch expects about 160 to close. This would equate to 20-plus closures in Cambridgeshire.

Dr Winstanley said that in one third of cases where post offices are closed, there will be some form of substitute service.

These would likely to be either mobile post offices, partner branches or home delivery services.

Last month, Cambridgeshire County Council and Huntingdonshire District Council pledged to take a leading role in protecting the county's post office network.

INFORMATION: For more on post office closures, you can visit www.royalmail.co.uk/networkchange