Post Office Decision To Close Provokes Anger

PUBLISHED: 18:18 11 February 2009 | UPDATED: 10:43 04 May 2010

THE Post Office s decision to close the St John s Road branch in Ely last week has provoked anger after promises to improve the branch in Ely High Street have not been met. Consultation meetings held by Post Office Limited in September last year gave assu

THE Post Office's decision to close the St John's Road branch in Ely last week has provoked anger after promises to improve the branch in Ely High Street have not been met.

Consultation meetings held by Post Office Limited in September last year gave assurances to residents that the closure would not go ahead until significant improvements at the main branch were completed.

Bemused by the decision, MP for South-East Cambridgeshire, Jim Paice, told the Ely Standard: "We were of the understanding that improvements would be made to cope with the loss of the post offices but they just don't appear to have happened.

"Time and time again we have been told that changes would be made to help improve the main branch but these promises continue not to be delivered," he said.

He went on, "I shall be pursuing this case in the near future to ensure that the necessary changes are made and I will also be urging Royal Mail to consider if the current owners are delivering a satisfactory service."

Among the promises made by Royal Mail to improve the High Street office was the introduction of a new automated queuing system and increased staff numbers to help deal with the influx of customers from the closed offices.

Neither of these measures has been introduced however, and visitors to the High Street post office continue to suffer with long queues and waiting times.

Consumer Focus, which has replaced the Post Office watchdog Postwatch, was unwilling to comment directly but told the Ely Standard that it was continuing to monitor the situation and is awaiting a report from Post Office Limited when improvements are completed.

Meanwhile, another post office facing closure in Little Downham, continues to be left in limbo as Royal Mail struggles to find a suitable replacement service for the village.

Postmistress Harpal Atwal has not heard from Royal Mail since she was first told she faced closure some five months ago and the uncertainty over her future has begun to take its toll: "To be honest it has been like having teeth pulled without anaesthetic, I cannot understand why they just haven't contacted me.

"I am busier now than I was at Christmas because of the St John's Road office being closed and if we were to follow suit then there would be a huge influx of people having to travel all the way into Ely."

Councillor for Downham villages, Anna Bailey, who campaigned against the closure, said: "This is a truly dreadful situation for everyone involved, we all just feel like we are bashing our heads against brick walls.

"I have tried to contact Royal Mail on several occasions and we have heard nothing, it is outrageous that they have kept her waiting with news that could have a big impact on her life.

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