NOT to many peoples' surprise, the Post
Office in their wisdom have decided that the Millstone Lane and
Millfields sub post offices are to close in March.
People tried to prevent the
closures, of course. The Town Council called a public
meeting to discuss the problem. Groups protested or organised petitions.
Meanwhile, a Post Office leaflet,
available in the Post Offices facing closure, said that the closures - "if
confirmed" - would happen on February 8. The deferment to March merely
means that the post offices staff had their Christmas AND Easter ruined.
Then, the Nantwich Chronicle
dropped through letterboxes on the morning of Wednesday, January 23,
with the lead headline: "Post Offices to be axed" and the sub-head:
"Fury as company 'ignores' public".
Residents of the Millfields
area (and villages on that side of Nantwich) will keep their Spar shop -
that side of the business is not affected - but those in the Millstone
Lane area will lose both their sub post and their handy corner shop as
the owners, Steve and Heather Turner, have decided to call it a day on
that side of the business, too. The couple will continue their newspaper
rounds, taking "a more active role in the delivery of your
publications," they have told customers. They will even collect the
"paper money" as people have nowhere to call into.
The premises will become a
private residence again. (I am not sure when it became a shop let alone
a sub post office. Maybe it was built as a shop.)
While not the largest of shops
- it was extended in recent years - it was a handy little place to get
magazines and some food items as well as the postal services.
The leaflet I mentioned
earlier said that the
main Post Office in Pepper Street is half a mile from the Millstone
Street one. ("It's as the crow flies," said a cynic.) Not that
that matters as many customers live on the other side of the smaller
premises to the main one, making their journey to town much more than
the stated half a mile - however the Post Office cared to measure the
distance. Others, living between the two post offices, chose it because
it was the nearer. And maybe they preferred the cosier atmosphere.
Now, on top of the extra walk
to buy a stamp, the sub post office customers will be battling (not
literally, of course!) with people collecting their pensions. Not
everyone has their pension paid into a bank account. Many people still
don't trust banks, even in this day and age.
Shops and supermarkets sell
postage stamps, you can renew your Road Fund Tax on-line now, and you
can get your holiday currency the same way. So a lot of people will not
have a great deal of use for a post office - except if they need a form
Maybe the Post Office was right
to close the sub branches if they were losing revenue. Could we see the
closure of main Post Offices such as Pepper Street one day?
All the reasons above against closure, and
more, will have been put forward during the so-called consultation
period, which many people have called a "mere formality" or "a sham".
But I don't know how many people thought they could make a difference by
protesting. If it had been possible to find a reason which made the Post
Office powers-that-be say: "Oh, we hadn't thought of that", the P.O.
people would not have been doing their job properly.