Five post offices threatened with closure
FIVE post offices in the district have been earmarked for closure sparking campaigns to save them They are at Waverley Road, Prospect Road, and Bernard s Heath in St Albans, at Park Street and at Station Road in Smallford. The five are among more than 2
FIVE post offices in the district have been earmarked for closure sparking campaigns to save them
They are at Waverley Road, Prospect Road, and Bernard's Heath in St Albans, at Park Street and at Station Road in Smallford. The five are among more than 2,500 post offices which are being closed nationwide in this latest round of Government cuts.
Sandy Walkington, Lib Dem Parliamentary candidate for St Albans, said: "Each of these five closures will impact on the communities affected, both residents and small businesses."
In the case of Smallford, Cllr Chris Brazier whose ward it is in, is outraged.
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He said: "This is the only shop for two miles and provides a link for young and old who need it to collect benefits, stamps and the like - quite apart from their shopping.
"Colney Heath has a two-hourly bus service until 6pm at night and nothing on a Sunday. How are these people meant to manage? This shouldn't just be about the money."
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Cllr Brazier has already started a petition and intends to put a motion before St Albans District Council to condemn the closure.
The Waverley Road closure has angered Labour councillor Roma Mills, who said: "High Oaks has already lost its post office. Now residents from there and from Ladies Grove will have even further to walk or travel to access postal services."
Commenting on the closure of Prospect Road, local councillor David Poor said: "People in Sopwell tend to have less access to cars than other areas in St Albans."
Sandy Walkington pointed out that St Albans had already lost branches at Abbey Avenue, Whitecroft, Stanhope Road, Beaconsfield Road, Hatfield Road and High Oaks in the last 10 years alone.
"Hundreds of residents have already signed our petition to save local post offices in St Albans," he added. "Other areas have been successful in changing decisions. It is important that we fight against the constant drip-drip of attacks on the viability of our local communities."
St Albans MP Anne Main has already met senior Post Office managers to investigate the possibilities of saving the branches from closure.
She said: "We have to make a realistic business and social case for each one under threat if we are to change their plans so it really is up to us to make the case in each area and for them to listen."
Mrs Main added that the consultation should have been delayed until it was clearer just how St Albans was set to expand in coming years as the city faced the prospect of an additional 7,200 houses by 2021.
The Post Office has said closing the 2,500 branches would save £45m.It has been estimated there are four million fewer customer visits every week to post offices compared to two years ago, largely due to the way benefits are now sent directly to pensioners' bank accounts.