Axe comes down on village's Post Office

PUBLISHED: 17:37 20 December 2007 | UPDATED: 21:53 29 May 2010

MOLEHILL Green is one of four Post Offices in Uttlesford which will close in the New Year as part of service cutbacks. After a six-week consultation period, which ended on November 19, Post Office Ltd has released the list of branches that will be axed.

MOLEHILL Green is one of four Post Offices in Uttlesford which will close in the New Year as part of service cutbacks.

After a six-week consultation period, which ended on November 19, Post Office Ltd has released the list of branches that will be axed.

The closure of the Molehill Green branch will leave the village's population of 374 with no option but to go to Elsenham or Takeley.

The closure of the village Post Office, on February 5, will not only affect those wanting to sort out their bills and collect their pensions, but it has also cast a shadow over the viability of the village store, which houses the Post Office branch.

Takeley Parish Council clerk Jane Heskey said: "We are extremely disappointed to learn of the closure.

"The removal of Post Office services will undoubtedly impact on the community. Within the proposal there is no provision for any outreach solution and it will be the most vulnerable who suffer; the young, the elderly and those without a car.

"The loss of Post Office status may well compromise the viability of the village shop. This would be a devastating blow for the entire community."

Her comments were echoed by sub-postmistress Jill Day who took over the shop and post office after her mother died four years ago.

She said: "My mother was sub-postmistress for 15 years before I took over, it's a real shame that the Post Office is closing."

"People from the village and surrounding areas, such as Broxted, come to sort out pensions and bills and enquire about postal services. It really will be missed."

Although the closure does not bring with it any redundancies, Mrs Day would have been made redundant or relocated had she not owned the shop as well.

She said: "I used to take my salary from the Post Office so it'll decrease my wages. I don't know what will happen now because I have stock to buy and overheads to pay."

The village store will remain open for the foreseeable future,

but Mrs Day has urged the public

to support the shop to enable it

to keep open.

"The Post Office here has always been a community focal point

for people to meet and sort out things. It's a shame people will have to go elsewhere for such things. I hope trade doesn't suffer as a result," she said.

The other three branches set to close across Uttlesford are Little Hallingbury, Quendon and Rowntree Way in Saffron Walden.

In a bitter blow to the area a third Post Office - on Henham High Street - could also close. A six-week consultation period will start on Friday January 4.

The closures are as a result of a failure to meet criteria laid down by Government officials to ensure the network can be supported by Government funding.

The changes are designed to reform the Post Office network so that 99 per cent of the UK population lives within three miles of a branch.

Post Office network development manager for East Essex and Suffolk Sheila McCann said: "These are difficult decisions which have not been taken lightly.

"We have considered very carefully all of the comments that were made during our six-week public consultation.

"We believe the amended plan offers out customers the best prospect for a sustainable network in future."

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