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Post Office closures revealed

PUBLISHED: 09:50 24 June 2008 | UPDATED: 11:17 03 July 2010

A CAMPAIGN to save 69 post offices in Norfolk and West Suffolk has largely fallen on deaf ears as only three appear to have won a reprieve.

Post Office bosses have ignored pleas and protests of dozens of communities and weighty dossiers from councillors, who all fought to save local branches - and are expected officially to announce today that all but three in Norfolk have been axed and none of the West Suffolk branches is to be saved.

A CAMPAIGN to save 69 post offices in Norfolk and West Suffolk has largely fallen on deaf ears as only three appear to have won a reprieve.

Post Office bosses have ignored pleas and protests of dozens of communities and weighty dossiers from councillors, who all fought to save local branches - and are expected officially to announce today that all but three in Norfolk have been axed and none of the West Suffolk branches is to be saved.

The news, expected at around 10am, means that only Vauxhall Street in Norwich, the Beeston branch near Dereham, and New Buckenham, near Attleborough, have won a stay of execution in the network cull which will affect more than a third of a million people.

Eight branches in and around Great Yarmouth are expected to close - including Lichfield Road Post Office in Southtown and the Northgate Street branch.

Staff at the closing branches will now begin putting up posters telling customers when in the next three months they are to shut their doors for good.

But there are fears of another tense re-run of the so-called consultation process if Post Office Ltd confirms other branches will take the trio's places to make up numbers.

Last night MPs of all parties attacked the process as a done deal and predicted the whole process would be repeated in a couple of years' time when the government calls time on the post office subsidy.

Tony Wright, Yarmouth's MP, said Post Office Ltd had “clearly ignored” the very strong cases made for retaining any of the six branches facing the chop in the town despite strong lobbying from Norfolk County Council and Postwatch that at least one should be saved.

“Post Office has clearly gone about this consultation with their ears closed” he said. “The wealth of local knowledge channelled into the consultation has been ignored and I am concerned for residents who will lose out.

“This announcement seems to confirm that the decision to close these branches was a done deal. I am not happy and will continue to fight the matter even at this late stage.”

Norman Lamb, MP for North Norfolk said the decision was “utterly pathetic.”

“We have been presented with a fait accompli,” he said. “What depresses me is that people have made massive efforts to make the case and it looks like it was a waste of everybody's time and makes people even more cynical about the consultation process.”

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