Rollesby village post office’s future is uncertain

AN appeal has been made to ensure the future of a village post office following the owner’s decision to retire after 25 years.

Stephanie Gallant, subpostmaster, has called time on her tenure at the Rollesby post office on Fleggburgh Road, which her grandmother established during the 1920s.

The decision has left question marks over what, and who, will now replace the service when it temporarily closes on Monday August 8.

The Royal Mail have confirmed they are committed to maintaining a post office in the village and are currently considering their options.

It is believed this will include a subpostmaster visiting Rollesby from a neighbouring village, or a post office counter being set up in a business already established within the village.

But concerns have been raised by the parish council as to whether there will be a suitable business to take on the responsibility, as Rollesby will lose its only shop when Mrs Gallant closes.

In the mean time, villagers face having to travel to post offices in Martham, Filby, Ormesby and Potter Heigham in order to collect their pensions and send parcels.

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Annette Collins, parish clerk for Rollesby Parish Council, is urging people and businesses to come forward to offer their suggestions, or take on the responsibility of the post office.

She said: “We are open to all suggestions on how to run the post office because we do not want it to close.

“However, at the moment we are stuck for people to take it on.”

Meanwhile, Brandon Lewis, MP for Great Yarmouth, is keen to make sure the post office is reopened again as soon as possible.

The MP campaigned to save the Bradwell branch prior to his victory at the general election.

He said: “I am passionate about supporting local services. Post offices are an essential lifeline for many people especially in rural areas.

“I hope that the Post Office will be proactive in ensuring that this disruption is kept to as short a period as possible.”

Mrs Gallant’s family first set up a post office in Rollesby in the 1920s when her grandmother provided postal services from a hatch in her house.

Since then, her parents, Cecil and Doris Miller, went on to run it for 39 years, until Stephanie took over in 1986.

Speaking about her retirement, Mrs Gallant said she could not believe how the business had changed over the years.

“It is so different now to when I first took over the post office in 1986,” she said.

“It was a small wooden building back then, so we built a brick building at a site around the corner.

“But perhaps one of the biggest changes was the introduction of computer systems. Until then, we were counting everything up by hand.

“I will miss the customers, but I am looking forward to a world without the post office because it is a big tie and you are always responsible for it - even when you go away.”

The Gallant family plan to expand the premises of the current post office into residential accommodation for themselves and their son and his wife.

A spokesman for the Royal Mail said: “Our priority is to maintain post office services to the local community and it is therefore important that any future service is sustainable.

“There are currently a number of new types of services which are successfully operating nationwide. These include Outreach services which are operated by a subpostmaster from a nearby branch, with hours of opening set to reflect the likely number of customers who will use the service, or a post office local service, which runs alongside an established local shop.”

If you have any concerns or want more information call 08457 22 33 44 or write to Post Office Customer Care, Freepost, PO Box 740, Barnsley, S73 0ZJ or visit the website www.postoffice.co.uk.

Alternatively, you can contact MP Brandon Lewis’s by calling 01493 334004 or send an email to his office at office@brandonlewis.org