A Letter from Nantwich

January 2008 (3)                                                                                                       Update

The axe falls . . .

Millstone Lane sub post office. The shop will go as well and will become a house.

Millfields sub post office. In this case the shop will stay open.

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 or another.

   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.  

 

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