A Letter from Nantwich

November 2007                                                                                      Update

Post Offices set to be stamped out

The main Post Office, in Pepper Street - the only one that will remain if plans go ahead.

Millstone Lane Post Office - a newsagency

Millfields Post Office - a Spar store

SO now we know . . .  The fate of two of the town's remaining post offices is all but sealed. While yet to be signed and delivered, the decision to close the Millstone Lane and Millfields Post Offices would seem to be a matter of formality.

   And that just a short while (a couple of years at the most) since the Barony and Audlem Road Post Offices went the same way.

   Only the main Post Office in Pepper Street will stay open if the decision about the future of the others goes as expected.

   It hasn't really come as a surprise since the Post Office powers-that-be have let it be known for some time that it was not possible to keep all the post offices and remain viable.

   But four out of five . . . ?

   Strictly speaking, both the doomed Post Offices are what not so long ago were called Sub Post Offices - the sort that are attached to another little local business. In the case of the Millstone Lane one, there is a newsagents, while the Millfields one is a Spar store. It would seem that the designation "Sub" is no longer politically correct. So presumably the rest of the business will remain. 

   Millstone Lane Post Office has been serving the Crewe Road, Millstone Lane, London Road, and Barony, areas, etc, while Millfields Post Office has served the Queen's Drive and Millfields housing estates, Marsh Lane, and the whole range of new homes at Welsh Row head.

   Now everyone faces a long walk into the centre of Nantwich to the Pepper Street Post Office. Anyone who has made the mistake of going into the Pepper Street building on "pension day" will realise that with people from the other two catchment areas going there as well, they could have a long wait for a stamp.

   Not everyone has the means to receive their pension directly into their bank account - or wants it that way.

  The closure of the two branches at the end of the year isn't that far away if it comes off. A six-week consultation period is due to end on December 17, and while this offers just a small chance that the post offices will not close, will it really be anything more than a smokescreen exercise? Do we really expect someone to come up with something the Post Office hierarchy haven't already dismissed? Or have I misunderstood the meaning of "consultation"?

   What a happy Christmas and New Year awaits the Sub Postmasters and their family and staff.

   Reported in the Nantwich Chronicle of November 7, Cllr Arthur Moran said: "It is ridiculous that a town with a growing population will be served by just one post office."  The councillor was backed by Town Council colleagues, Joyce Stockton, Steve Hope and Edith Williams.

   For the Post Office, their network development manager, Jane Briginshaw, said: "We believe these proposals offer the best prospect for a sustainable way forward for the Post Office services in this area, bearing in mind the minimum access criteria and the other factors we have to take into account."

   "Minimum access criteria"? That presumable means: can people get to their local branch? Closing the branches suggests the minimum is pretty low. One post office, for instance.

   Does that sound as though there is much hope for the two post offices?      

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