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Southtown post office fight hots up

PUBLISHED: 15:22 17 April 2008 | UPDATED: 10:52 03 July 2010

Laura Bagshaw

RESIDENTS in Southtown and Cobholm have launched a vigorous campaign to save their Lichfield Road post office.

More than 120 people gathered at Lichfield Community Centre on Suffolk Road to discuss ways forward in an attempt to save their “local” post office which has been earmarked for closure.

RESIDENTS in Southtown and Cobholm have launched a vigorous campaign to save their Lichfield Road post office.

More than 120 people gathered at Lichfield Community Centre on Suffolk Road to discuss ways forward in an attempt to save their “local” post office which has been earmarked for closure.

Jim West, chairman of Lichfield Community Association, told the residents they needed to do more than just jot a signature down on a bit of paper.

He said: “A petition with thousands of names counts for very little, letters count for much more. If you want this post office to stay open you need to put pen to paper.”

Mr West suggested people should write about the difficulties they face getting to the town centre branch.

“There are lots of things you can write about such as the traffic congestion in the summer, difficulty in parking in town, the fact there is not a bus service close to the branch, and if you are disabled the trouble you have with walking,” he said.

Mercury editor Anne Edwards spoke at the meeting and encouraged people to write letters. She said there were 2,384 homes in Southtown and Cobholm with 3,600 people eligible to vote.

She added: “Wouldn't it be great if all these people who are eligible to vote write letters?”

Sub postmaster Shah Haque was “delighted” to see so much support adding he felt “confident” the community could put up a strong fight to stop the proposed closure.

He said: “Between 1,200 and 1,400 people use this post office every week and we are making profits.”

Mr Haque said the post office stood for “much more” than just an organisation, adding it was at the “heart of the community,” a place where people could attend to their business as well as socialise.

He also felt it was “ironic” that while millions of pounds were being spent regenerating Southtown and Cobholm a vital part of the community could be taken away.

One speaker said: “If this post office closes you will not have any shops in Southtown in five years' time.”

Patricia Brown, of Lichfield Road, spoke to the Mercury before the meeting and said she would struggle to get into town as she suffers from a chronic lung condition.

She said: “I would have great difficulty walking into town because I get out of breath easily. This post office needs to stay open.

It was decided that a meeting would be arranged with a representative of the post office before the end of the consultation period, which had been extended because of local government elections.

And there was some laughter, albeit ironic, at the meeting when Mr West revealed: “The man who delivered the proposed closure news to Shah didn't realise there was a river separating Southtown from the town centre. We need to have someone here to show them the geographical area and demographics.”

Residents had also been concerned that a post box outside the post office would be removed in August. However, this week a Royal Mail spokeswoman confirmed there were “no plans at the moment” to get rid of the post box.

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