Mixed news in fight to save POs

a village that's poised to lose its post office is hoping to save the shop from complete closure by running it as a community enterprise. Meanwhile, there was a reprieve for New Buckenham post office as it was named as one of just three of the 69 closure-threatened branches in Norfolk and west Suffolk to escape the axe after the consultation process.

a village that's poised to lose its post office is hoping to save the shop from complete closure by running it as a community enterprise.

Meanwhile, there was a reprieve for New Buckenham post office as it was named as one of just three of the 69 closure-threatened branches in Norfolk and west Suffolk to escape the axe after the consultation process.

During the six-week exercise Post Office Ltd received more than 4,600 responses and attended 28 meetings with customers and their representatives. But bosses remain unmoved in their deter-mination to cut services.

Laura Tarling, its network development manager for Norfolk and west Suffolk, said: “We believe that the amended plan... offers our customers across Norfolk and west Suffolk the best prospect for a sustainable network in the future, bearing in mind the government's minimum access criteria and the other factors the government has asked us to consider.”

At Bressingham, Allan and Jackie Bryne, owners of the post office and stores, had alerted residents to their intention to call it a day in October after learning that the post office was on the hit-list.

The couple will continue living at their present home but are looking to sell the shop premises at the front.

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Fearing the shop could be lost forever if no private buyer came forward, the parish council delivered leaflets to every household calling a public meeting to discuss what villagers could do. The response was said to be so big that a steering committee was set up to examine the possibility of forming a community organisation to run the shop.

A committee spokesman said: “The strong feeling already emerging is that, based on the experience of others and upon already available advice, a community company should be set up to run the village shop and that shares be offered to villagers at £1 each.”

Mr Byrne described the decision to close the post office as a sad day for the village, and he and his wife fully supported the move to save it. “Jackie is going to retire as she's reached 60 and has worked for 40-odd years, and I don't want to run the shop by myself. I told everybody what was happening, and I put the proposal forward to the parish council that maybe it was less likely for an individual to want to purchase the post office side of the business,” he explained.

The committee will be leafleting villagers again to see if there is backing for a community shop shares scheme and will report on progress in July.

Branch closures were also confirmed for Scole, Talcolneston and Horringer, while Gislingham post office will be replaced with an outreach service.

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