‘It’s pretty sad’: Villagers’ ‘shock’ as lifeline post office announces closure
- Credit: James Bass/ Brian Swan
Villagers are in “shock” after the surprise announcement their post office could be closing for good following the retirement of its postmistress.
Burgh Castle post office in Great Yarmouth will be closing in two weeks’ time on November 26 - and with it the villages only ATM.
In a letter sent to the parish council on Monday, Post Office change manager Wendy Hamilton said “other available options” were being investigated, and apologised for the inconvenience “the temporary closure may cause”.
Ward councillor Adrian Myers said the whole thing was “pretty sad”.
“It’s a great service for local people, and came out of the blue”, he said.
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“On top of that, I know people were enjoying using the Post Office’s new nationwide scheme where a postman can collect a shoe box-sized parcel from your door for a flat rate of 71p, and I can’t see that working without a physical post office for the postman to return it to.
“I can’t reveal much of the detail now, but we’re in talks which might see a new premises established, as the current site is family-owned land. I’m about 60-70pc hopeful we’ll find an alternative.”
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The letter says anyone with questions or concerns about the matter should write to the Post Office via the National Consultation Team by December 5.
For Brian Swan, chair of the parish council, it is vital community members “make their voices heard” by stressing the importance of this “lifeline service”.
“You can’t really do anything about someone’s retirement, and in this instance, Josie Thomas and her family have run the business for many years”, he said.
“But what we really need is for the Post Office to help us find an alternative. The news came as a shock when we received it on Monday.
“It’s our only bank, and the only shop which sells essential items. Holidaymakers and residents heavily rely on it.
“Without it, our nearest post offices are Bradwell or Belton, but neither have a safe footpath or bus serice.”
In a statement, a Post Office spokesperson said: “The Postmaster for Burgh Castle has decided to retire due to the coronavirus pandemic. The premises will be withdrawn for Post Office use on Thursday 26 November 2020 at 4.30pm.
“We are currently investigating the options available which will enable us to reinstate Post Office services as we know how important a Post Office is to the community.”