03/10/07 - Post offices under threat of closure?

POST offices in Markby, Maltby le Marsh, and Huttoft, face closure as the Post Office announce cuts to its service.

A six-week consultation period will run until November 12, in which time representation can be made by the outlets to state their case to remain open.

In the plans released by the Post Office, the Markby branch has been named as an outlet for closure while the Maltby le Marsh and Huttoft branches may be replaced by 'outreach services'.

These services may be a mobile office or services in a local shop.

The postmaster at Maltby le Marsh, who did not wish to be named, said: "The only information we have received is that we will close on a permanent basis and be replaced by an outreach service eight hours per week."

"We have sent off the forms of representation but we are disappointed as we don't want to close."

The decision comes as a result of new 'minimum access' criteria which have been set by the Government following consultation.

This states 95 per cent of the total rural population of the UK should be within three miles of their nearest branch.

Three staff at the branch may be made redundant but the shop and newsagent will remain open.

The nearest post offices to Maltby are Alford, Withern and Mablethorpe.

East Lindsey District Council's portfolio holder for rural services and partnerships, Coun Edward Mossop, said: "The district council is putting forward a case for each post office threatened with closure to remain open. It is important we make use of this period of consultation."

Vice chairman of Lincolnshire Association of Local Councils Coun Gary Ellis urged people to get behind their post office. He said: "Everyone must rally round to do everything they can to save their post office if it is under threat. Once closed it is likely they will be lost forever."

Jeremy Webb, sub postmaster at Alford Post Office, would like to reassure his customers there are no plans to close the branch.

He said: "It's business as usual here."

* What do you think about the proposed cuts in service? Email the Editor at rebekah.baker@jpress.co.uk.