Post Office closure list
Post Offices under threat:Holkham, Wells RoadGreat Walsingham, Hindringham RoadFakenham, Wells RoadBarney, The StreetTittleshall, village hallBeeston, Chapel LaneSporle, The StreetLongham, Chapel RoadNorth Tuddenham, Mill RoadClint Green, Norwich RoadRural communities across Breckland were bracing themselves for a fight this week after the announcement that 69 post offices are marked for closure in Norfolk and west Suffolk.
Post Offices under threat:
Holkham, Wells Road
Great Walsingham, Hindringham
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Fakenham, Wells Road
Barney, The Street
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Tittleshall, village hall
Beeston, Chapel Lane
Sporle, The Street
Longham, Chapel Road
North Tuddenham, Mill Road
Clint Green, Norwich Road
Rural communities across Breckland were bracing themselves for a fight this week after the announcement that 69 post offices are marked for closure in Norfolk and west Suffolk.
It could see thousands of the oldest and most vulnerable people facing treks of up to three miles to get to their nearest post office and it is being seen as a kick in the teeth for the region's rural way of life.
Many facing the axe are in Breckland and support village shops and services in about a dozen hamlets around the towns of Dereham and Fakenham.
It is part of a bid by the Post Office to save money by closing 2,500 branches across England and Wales.
Mid Norfolk MP Keith Simpson said: “It's disappointing, not least because the vulnerable post offices are largely the smaller ones.
“They're often the ones that are the lifeline in the village for elderly people, disabled people and young mums.”
The named post offices are due to close, subject to a six-week consultation exercise branded a “sham” by angry North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb.
Of the 69, 47 are proposed outright closures of Norfolk post offices.
South-West Norfolk MP Christopher Fraser on Tuesday met officials from the Post Office. They agreed to take part in a public meeting on his patch in the next fortnight, on a day and at a place to be agreed.
He said: “If this period of public consultation is going to be a success we have got to allow the voice of the people of Norfolk to be heard loud and clear. People need to know what they have to convince the Post Office of in order to save their facilities.”
Mr Lamb and Mr Simpson were due to be at a public meeting at Aylsham last night at which postmasters, postmistresses and the Dereham-based Norfolk Rural Community Council were due to discuss the response to the closure plans. Peter Medhurst, chairman of the rural community council, said: “We are trying to raise a campaign to make the post offices more viable in each community.
“We are encouraging people to make them into community hubs, coming together and bringing other facilities under one roof to make them more viable for the long term. Post offices are pivotal parts of the community.”
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, explained: “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 are 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.