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Eight post offices face axe

PUBLISHED: 09:09 26 March 2008 | UPDATED: 10:42 03 July 2010

EIGHT post offices in the Great Yarmouth area face the axe - among a total of 69 in Norfolk and West Suffolk, according to a

Thousands of the oldest and most vulnerable people could now be faced with a trek of up to three miles to get to their closest post office.

EIGHT post offices in the Great Yarmouth area face the axe - among a total of 69 in Norfolk and West Suffolk, according to a

Thousands of the oldest and most vulnerable people could now be faced with a trek of up to three miles to get to their closest post office. And scores of rural and urban areas are almost certain to have one of their key focal points wrenched from their midst.

And 11th hour rescue bids - which could include local groups taking over post offices or setting them up in pubs, shops or village halls - come amid fears the cull will sound the “death knell” for scores of communities, particularly in rural areas.

The Norfolk and West Suffolk plans are part of the Post Office's bid to save money by closing 2,500 branches across England and Wales.

The official announcement is due to be made later today.

The list includes 47 outright closures in Norfolk and 14 in West Suffolk. It also includes six in Norfolk and two in West Suffolk which are earmarked for replacement with “outreach” services including temporary facilities that serve villages for a few hours each week.

Sub-postmasters and mistresses were unable to comment last night on the threat to their livelihoods because of a confidentiality agreement they were forced to sign.

Despite much local opposition, the National Federation of Sub-Postmasters is not against the closure programme.

Sally Reeves, chairman of the organisation's negotiating committee, said: “If I was to say we don't want any closures that would be the heart talking. There's not enough business to keep all those sub-post offices open.

“It's heartbreaking that some have to close to maintain the network. We are keen that the closures are managed, not random. Hopefully, Post Office Ltd is applying sensibly the access criteria.”

The criteria mentioned is that 99pc of the country's population must be within three miles and 90pc within one mile of their nearest post office. In deprived urban areas, 99pc must be within one mile, while 95pc of the total urban area must also be within one mile.

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