Redbourn post office owners charged £11,800 to retire on ill-health

PUBLISHED: 18:07 02 May 2017 | UPDATED: 18:07 02 May 2017

Redbourn Post Office. Photo: Google Maps

Redbourn Post Office. Photo: Google Maps

Archant

The future of Redbourn post office is mired in anger and confusion after its owners say they were charged almost £12,000 to retire.

Sandra and Alan Woodland have been running the branch for 10 years, but due to ill-health decided to call it a day.

They were then presented with a £11,800 bill from the Post Office to cover the cost of a conversion process into a new-style local branch.

Mrs Woodland said: “It has been an absolute nightmare.

“We have tried to sell it as we are both 70, we then tried to give the postal services to the village.

“It was agreed we could close on grounds of ill-health in April, but this did not suit the Post Office so we decided to stay open until May.

“Then a man from the Post Office said we will not be able to move the services until June.”

Several years ago, the post office was converted as part of the company’s Network Transformation drive, financed by the company and the Woodlands.

Mrs Woodland said this cost them quite a lot of money, but they did not know how much it cost the Post Office.

A Post Office representative told the Woodlands if they closed before they had been open for three years following the transformation, the company will claim back the percentage they paid in, and he had calculated this to be £11,800.

Mrs Woodland said: “I do not trust the Post Office anymore.

“They eventually said if we stay open until Monday, July 31, they would waive the fee, but I have not sent the letter back as my family does not think I should be paying the money.

She has met someone who is interested in buying the branch, but has been unable to get in touch with anyone from the company.

The situation has now reached the point where Mrs Woodland has written to the chief executive of the Post Office, Paula Vennels, to appeal for her help.

A spokesperson for Post Office said: “The postmaster for Redbourn has resigned, although the final date of service has not yet been agreed.

“We are working hard to maintain a Post Office service in Redbourn.

“The vacancy has been advertised and there is an interested party. This is still at an early stage. Any relocation would be subject to public consultation.”

Mrs Woodland denies having resigned, but the Post Office said they have seen a copy of the resignation pack, and an accompanying letter signed by Mr and Mrs Woodland.

They said once they have a signed resignation pack, they will then advertise the vacancy.


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