Post Office planned Bradwell closure
THE Post Office had planned on closing its Bradwell branch and moving it for some time, it emerged this week.It's hand was forced into closing the Beccles Road outlet when three electricity engineers arrived unexpectedly to turn the power off due to unpaid bills, giving postmistress Clair Griffin, 26 and her part-time colleague Rowena Buchan just 10 minutes to leave.
THE Post Office had planned on closing its Bradwell branch and moving it for some time, it emerged this week.
It's hand was forced into closing the Beccles Road outlet when three electricity engineers arrived unexpectedly to turn the power off due to unpaid bills, giving postmistress Clair Griffin, 26 and her part-time colleague Rowena Buchan just 10 minutes to leave.
The six-week consultation process which started on July 21 is purely to gauge people's opinions of the move to the Premier store in Church Lane and whether there were any problems the Post Office had overlooked at the new location, such as disabled access.
A Post Office spokesman said the decision to move had been made “some months ago” and the Beccles Road branch was going to be operated by the two staff until the new branch at the Premier store was ready in September.
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But MP Tony Wright has criticised the Post Office for its handling of the sudden closure.
He has written to the Post Office asking a number of questions about the closure of the branch on July 17, particularly why no temporary or mobile facility was provided so villagers had an alternative in the village.
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Customers are having to travel more than a mile to use the nearest post office in Magdalen Way, Gorleston.
Mr Wright said: “The Post Office has mobile units. My point is that what the Post Office should be doing is looking at its customers first and foremost and how they can continue along those lines.”
Mr Wright was not just concerned about Bradwell villagers going without a Post Office, but also residents of Gorleston's Shrublands estate who also used the Beccles Road outlet.
He proposed reopening a branch on the Shrublands estate in addition to the new Premier store branch.
However, the Post Office spokesman said setting up a mobile facility would take time as electricity had to be found to power the computers and other equipment.
Paresh Patel, 55, who runs the Premier store with wife Anita, 50, has been given planning permission by the borough council to extend his store, doubling its size, to accommodate the new Post Office counter.
The Fritton man used to run the Beccles Road Post Office from 1999 to 2004 as well as the Premier store, but gave up his postmaster role to concentrate on the store.
He said parking would not be a problem outside his store as customers could use the community centre and library car parks while he was aiming to provide a quick service so customers would not be parked outside his shop for long.
Extra staff will be taken on to help with the running of the store and Post Office, but in contrast to traditional counters, staff will not be behind a glass screen.
“It is going to be a very modern Post Office. Staff will not be serving from behind glass. We want to provide a more friendly and personable service - and a much better service - within the store. That is our main objective,” Mr Patel said.
The closing date for consultation submissions is September 1 and the new Post Office could be open by mid-September.
Submissions can be made by post addressed to Post Office Ltd, c/o National Consultation Team, PO Box 2060, Watford, WD18 8ZW, e-mail replies to firstname.lastname@example.org or phone the customer helpline on 08457 223344 or phone 08457 223355.
SHOPPERS arriving to buy their morning paper and groceries from the Premier store in Church Lane believe the new location for the Post Office could be even better than the old one, in spite of concerns over a lack of parking.
James Jones, of Homefield Avenue, said many of the older customers would walk to the new branch, reducing the need for many parking spaces.
He added customers could park their cars at the village's community centre or library nearby and said the Premier store would be better for the elderly and less mobile, as they would not have to cross the busy Beccles Road.
Mr Jones said: “I think it is ideal here. If the Post Office comes here then I am all for it because Bradwell needs a Post Office.”
Bernard Leggett, 69, of Sparrow Close, said he would have preferred the village's Rainbow Foodstore to house the new Post Office.
He added he used the old Beccles Road branch regularly to post mail to his daughter Zoe James, who lives in Spain.
“I would visit the new Post Office the same as I did the previous one, but we desperately need a new Post Office in the area as at the moment we have not got one,” Mr Leggett said.
Judy Gascoyne, 66, of Sun Lane, was also positive about the plans and said there was almost as much parking available as at the old site in Beccles Road.
She said: “I am all in favour of it. We need a Post Office in Bradwell; for those who have not got transport.”