Mereham Campaigners Join The Fight To Save Post Offices

PUBLISHED: 11:35 17 April 2008 | UPDATED: 10:20 04 May 2010

Cllr Bill Hunt

Cllr Bill Hunt

CAMPAIGNERS fighting plans to bring a 5,000 home new town to East Cambridgeshire have also thrown their weight behind the battle to stop post office closures. On Saturday, members of Haddenham s Say No to Mereham group collected 840 signatures at a stal

CAMPAIGNERS fighting plans to bring a 5,000 home new town to East Cambridgeshire have also thrown their weight behind the battle to stop post office closures.

On Saturday, members of Haddenham's 'Say No to Mereham' group collected 840 signatures at a stall in Ely market for a petition urging the Government to think again.

Post offices throughout East Cambridgeshire are under threat under plans to cut 250 nationwide, replacing some with outreach or mobile services.

District and county councillor, Bill Hunt, who has been a key figure in the battle to prevent Australian developer, Multiplex building the Mereham new town between Wilburton and Stretham, joined campaigners at the market stall.

He said: "We regard the post office closures as a massive attack on our local communities - as if Mereham were not enough.

"In several of our villages, including Wilburton and Stretham, the local post office is the only shop that residents can walk to. In Witchford it is only recently that the Post Office re-opened with a lot of entrepreneurial spirit.

"It is a national disgrace that these small businesses, which do a tremendous job for our communities, should be under threat in this way."

Haddenham councillor, Gareth Wilson, said: "One of the items we raised at the Mereham public inquiry was that Mereham could threaten the viability of our existing village shops and post offices.

"Now the Post Office management in collusion with the Government is threatening to have exactly the same effect. This is not acceptable. There are many elderly and disadvantaged people in our villages who do not have access to cars and need to collect or cash their pensions at the local post office."

Little Downham Cllr Anna Bailey claims on the one hand the Government wants to reduce the use of cars but by closing post offices small businesses will be forced to waste time and fuel driving to larger centres.

She said: "How can this be consistent with energy conservation and reduction of carbon dioxide emission?

"I believe that neither the Government nor Post Office management has done enough to market the services that local post offices offer to support the entrepreneurial individuals and families who run them."

Pic cap: Mereham campaigner Bill Hunt has joined the fight to save village post offices.

Photo: HELEN DRAKE

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