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Campaign launched to save service

PUBLISHED: 15:49 03 April 2008 | UPDATED: 10:47 03 July 2010

RESIDENTS in Southtown are rallying to save their post office - one of eight earmarked for closure in the Mercury readership area.

Little more than a week after the start of a six-week consultation period where customers and postmasters gather evidence to show their branch is worth saving, sub-postmaster of Lichfield Road Post Office Shah Haque said he had been “overwhelmed” by public support adding he would mount a “vigorous” campaign to save his branch.

RESIDENTS in Southtown are rallying to save their post office - one of eight earmarked for closure in the Mercury readership area.

Little more than a week after the start of a six-week consultation period where customers and postmasters gather evidence to show their branch is worth saving, sub-postmaster of Lichfield Road Post Office Shah Haque said he had been “overwhelmed” by public support adding he would mount a “vigorous” campaign to save his branch.

He said: “People are furious about the proposals but they have responded positively to the campaign. People are writing letters, putting posters up in their windows and our petition has more than a thousands signatures.”

Mr Haque stressed his branch was profitable and couldn't see one good reason for closing it.

“Since I have been here our profits have increased,” he said.

“It would be a disaster for this area if this branch closed. We are the only post office this side of the river until you get to Gorleston.

I really believe something can be done to save this post office.”

Jim West, chairman of the Lichfield Community Association, said he'd been contacted by people who were keen to put up a strong fight to save the post office.

He said local residents had viewed closure proposals as “scandalous” and everyone was “100pc against closure.”

“Apart from the fact we have that dreaded bridge, which when it opens causes chaos, there is no parking in town close to the post office. The car park is either filled with the market or cars. Buses do not go that close to the post office and if you are elderly or disabled it causes all kinds of difficulties.”

He said a meeting would be held shortly to arrange an “action plan” to fight the closure with a leaflet drop and door knocks being organised.

“After that meeting I will organise a public meeting so all residents can put forward their views.”

Des Crowe, who owns the chip shop in Lichfield Road, criticised the move saying closure would go against hopes of regenerating the area. He also said closure of the branch would affect his business.

Local councillors John Holmes and Penny Linden are hoping to attend meetings.

Cllr Holmes said: “We will do all we can to make sure this closure does not happen. I will also be looking into the distance between this post office and the branch in town to see exactly how far away it is. While it's very early days the strength of feeling in the community is quite high.”

Cllr Holmes added that assurances given to the people of Southtown after the closure of the Cobholm branch closed had been broken.

Cllr Linden said Southtown and Cobholm were deprived areas and it was not always easy for people to get into town.

She added several people had contacted her concerned about the closure.

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