Confusion Reigns Over Post Office Future in Ely and Little Downham

PUBLISHED: 10:33 10 December 2008 | UPDATED: 10:38 04 May 2010

CONFUSION still reigns over the future of Post Offices around Ely during the busy Christmas rush as several branches face permanent closure. Although offices in Ely and Little Downham were told they were to be closed as far back as October neither branch

CONFUSION still reigns over the future of Post Offices around Ely during the busy Christmas rush as several branches face permanent closure.

Although offices in Ely and Little Downham were told they were to be closed as far back as October neither branch has since heard anything with staff and customers angry at being left in limbo.

Little Downham postmistress Harpal Atwal said: "I haven't heard back as to when we will be closing and that is not for want of trying, I have tried to make contact with Royal Mail several times and haven't been able to get through.

"As far as I know I've been fired but I don't know for sure when and being so busy I can't be expected to keep chasing them for information."

Plans for a Little Downham mobile service have reached gridlock - as no business owners have come forward to take on the task.

The frustration of workers was also apparent in the St John's Road branch in Ely. Staff member Portia Devine voiced her concerns: "Royal Mail told us we would be closing some time in January but that's as good as we have got.

"They have also told us to fill out an application form for a job in the main Ely branch but again we have had no word back so we don't really know where we stand."

In order to appease angry residents when the announcement of closures was first made, Royal Mail promised that several necessary improvements would be made to the main Ely branch in the High Street in order to cope with the cut in services.

Queues of people sending Christmas parcels has blocked up both branches in Ely, and as the Stretham post office counter closed for a month, citing "security reasons," MP Jim Paice expressed his concern: "I remain of the opinion that the St John's Road PO should not close until significant improvements have been made to the High Street PO and these improvements have been shown to work," he told the Ely Standard.

Councillor Jeremy Friend-Smith, ward member for the St John's Road area of Ely, was also worried about the lack of progress: "It is really disappointing that we haven't seen any of the improvements that were promised especially with other offices facing closure, nobody is sure how the main office is going to cope," he said.

To add yet more confusion to the situation a sign on the Post Office in Stretham High Street says services not expected to be up and running again until January and diverting yet more customers to busy post offices in Wilburton and Ely.

Royal Mail were contacted by the Ely Standard but did not choose to comment.

nWhat do you think? How are you affected by the Post Office closures, and the lack of information as to what is happening next? Write to us at The Ely Standard, 38 Market Street, Ely CB7 4LS or email editor@ely-standard.co.uk

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