Sixth post office facing closure

PUBLISHED: 12:48 09 July 2008 | UPDATED: 13:25 06 May 2010

Campaigners outside the threatened Harpenden post office

Campaigners outside the threatened Harpenden post office

A SIXTH post office in the district has been earmarked for closure as part of a nationwide programme of cutbacks. Station Road North Post Office in Harpenden has been added to the list of five threatened with closure in St Albans which was put out for co

A SIXTH post office in the district has been earmarked for closure as part of a nationwide programme of cutbacks.

Station Road North Post Office in Harpenden has been added to the list of five threatened with closure in St Albans which was put out for consultation last month.

But a campaign to save it is already underway and a petition is being drawn up by local Liberal Democrats.

Lib-Dem prospective Parliamentary candidate Nigel Quinton called on all political parties and community groups to join together to fight the closure of what he believes to be Harpenden's first post office which has served East Harpenden and Batford for more than 120 years.

He said: "The people most affected by these closures will be the old, the infirm and the vulnerable, many of whom rely on their local post office and who are not able to simply walk - or more likely drive - to the next nearest branch.

"And in these days of increasing concern about identity theft and fraud, it is just plain stupid to remove the most secure form of transaction - the cross- counter relationship at one's local post office branch."

Local district councillor and former St Albans Mayor, Cllr Alison Steer, added: "We must fight this closure with all our hearts and minds. I urge local people to sign our petition, which will be widely available, but more importantly to write to the Post Office consultation to record your objection."

Station Road North now joins Waverley Road, Prospect Road and Bernard's Heath in St Albans, Park Street, and Station Road in Smallford which the Post Office is proposing to close.

A meeting to discuss the St Albans closures held last week was poorly attended by the public. Deputy council leader, Cllr Chris Brazier, who organised it, believes that people have heard about the proposals to shut 2,500 post offices across the country and don't think there is anything they can do to prevent it.

.The main concern raised at the meeting was the impact the cuts would have on the elderly who rely on the services and the subsequent loss of the shops in which the post offices are located.

Despite the poor public turnout, Cllr Brazier maintained that the meeting was still a success as it demonstrated strong cross-party support from councillors, St Albans Parliamentary candidates and local MP Anne Main.

But he said: "I think there is a chance we may save one or two but we are not going to save all of them - that is definite."

He also warned that if they did manage to save any of the post offices earmarked for closure, then another area was likely to suffer a loss.

Lib-Dem Parliamentary candidate for St Albans, Sandy Walkington, criticised the Government for what he believes is a lack of understanding of the area demonstrated in a report which refers to Bricket Wood as a town, not a village.

He added: "I am sure that the residents of the crowded metropolis of Bricket Wood will be delighted by this recognition for their great city. But how can we take seriously a consultation based on this garbage? It is La-La Land!"

Mrs Main, who will be making a formal response to the proposals, said: "An elderly lady at the meeting revealed to me that she regularly collected pensions and did other errands on behalf of more infirm neighbours."

Suggesting a closer analysis of the demographic of the catchment area for each branch, she added: "A closure of a branch serving such residents would adversely affect far more people than is indicated by the post office's own figures.

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