Search

Branches prepare for inevitable

PUBLISHED: 15:51 03 April 2008 | UPDATED: 10:47 03 July 2010

UPTON

DESPITE the odds the owners of Upton Stores have vowed to keep trading if, as expected, their Post Office branch closes this summer. Pat and Fred Millward have faced an uphill struggle over the years to keep the store going in the teeth of ferocious competition from supermarkets.

UPTON

DESPITE the odds the owners of Upton Stores have vowed to keep trading if, as expected, their Post Office branch closes this summer. Pat and Fred Millward have faced an uphill struggle over the years to keep the store going in the teeth of ferocious competition from supermarkets.

Although resigned to the loss of the post office, the couple hope the shop still has a future as a stand alone business.

“People have expressed their concerns, but there are not enough customers to justify the Post Office staying open,” said Mrs Millward. “The post office propped up the shop, but we will have to see if it can become self-sufficient.

“We were doing alright until Budgens opened in Acle and that killed our trade, but we will give it a try and see how it goes.”

STOKESBY

ALTHOUGH a determined band of stalwart customers is ready to man the barricades at Stokesby, postmaster Rick Sargeant said the end was inevitable for his tiny set-up inside Bungalow Stores.

But with Norfolk's smallest post office all but gone the battle was on to save the shop, its eclectic range of cards, gifts and groceries a lifeline to some, but to many villagers a rarely visited throwback to an age when bobbies rode bicycles and children skipped in the school yard.

Mr Sargeant said there was little room in modern life for little shops but hoped that villagers, wary of losing it, would continue to support the store he had been running with his wife Yvonne for 20 years.

“We live in hope but we are realistic. It is going to be a case of suck it and see. A few of our staunch locals have offered to support and help. But the village as a whole realises that our fate is inevitable. The way that trade has gone and the way that the post office business has dropped, unless there was a change of heart in the way the post office was run as a service rather than a business we will not survive.

“Even it was saved now it would go in the next round. It would be lovely to see a thriving village shop and a village post office ticking away and offering a service to the village. But times are changing and modern life is different to what it used to be, and if you went back another 20 years it would probably be different again.”

HICKLING

PUBLIC apathy had already killed off the post office, said postmistress Julie Mayhew. She there had been few ripples following the announcement last week the branch had been earmarked for closure. The post office next to the Pleasure Boat public house has been serving the village for two years and is open from 9am-noon daily. Mrs Mayhew said that with her most recent sales had been for “small change items only” and that it was hardly worth keeping it open. She said no official date for closure had been given so far.

WEST SOMERTON

THE village has had a post office since 1905. The present one was opened by Deborah Ashton who offered to operate a community post office in a room on the ground floor of her house in Staithe Road after the original brancy was closed down in 1993.

Mrs Ashton said: “There is a consultation period now operating and I believe the parish council and the parochial church council have backed a call to keep the facility open. But what chance we stand I don't know.

“Customers have told me this week how disappointed they are because if we do close they will have to travel for the services they need.”

Villager Pauline Burckitt said: “It's the pensioners who are going to find it hard. If they can't just pop along the road to collect their pensions, they are going to have to find an alternative post office in a neighbouring village, and they're not all agile.”

Customers without their own transport will be forced to make bus journeys to the nearest post offices in Martham or Winterton

ends

Most Read

Latest from the Great Yarmouth Mercury

Hot Jobs

Show Job Lists