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Closure 'would be a disaster'

PUBLISHED: 16:59 10 April 2008 | UPDATED: 10:49 03 July 2010

It is a place at the heart of the community where traditional customer service still comes first and there's always time to chat or exchange a few pleasantries at Northgate Street Post Office in Great Yarmouth.

It is a place at the heart of the community where traditional customer service still comes first and there's always time to chat or exchange a few pleasantries at Northgate Street Post Office in Great Yarmouth.

But it is an amenity that could be lost after the counter space was among the eight earmarked for closure in and beyond the borough.

The Mercury is backing the bid to save the post office, which provides a lifeline for many vulnerable people.

More than 1,000 customers have already signed a petition and supported the paper's Save our Post Office campaign at the branch.

Lengthy queues are already a common sight in the main post office in Yarmouth town centre and waiting times are set no increase further if the branches in Northgate Street and Lichfield Road close.

One of those is Theresa Dillon, 68, who regularly uses the post office that could shut as soon as August. She said: “There is a much more personal service here and it is nice to have a chat with all the people you meet. You have got a nice little row of shops along here and closing the post office will take business away from them.

“It would be a disaster if the post office shut.

“All the big stores are taking over these days and it would be another blow to community if it closes. The service in WH Smith is already poor and the waiting times would get even longer if more post office customers have to go there.”

The post office is one of the busiest in Yarmouth with between 1,000 and 1,500 customers a week, but there is little chance of saving the small shop on the premises if it closes.

The street, close to the town centre, contains a wide variety of independently run shops and businesses, several of which have voiced support for the post office.

The post office's branch access report mistakenly records the nearest bus stop as 350 yards away when it is right outside.

Sub-postmistress Jayne Nicholson fears many of her customers will not want to use the main post office where there are already lengthy queues at peak times.

She said: “I think this will mean the post office losing more business and it seems there is a deliberate attempt to run the network down.

“Customers are charged to pay their bills in and many who currently collect their pensions here will just have it paid into their bank account.

“We have a lot of elderly customers but people of all ages are up in arms about this decision and I just hope there is still a chance of reversing it.”

The Royal Mail has announced a six- week consultation period before the closures are confirmed.

Write to Laura Tarling, Network Development Manager c/o National Consultation Team, FREEPOST CONSULTATION TEAM, email consultation@postoffice.co.uk or call 08457 223344.

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