DEVON County Council has said it deplores the scale of the post office closures and outreach services that were proposed by Post Office Limited last week. Councillor Brian Berman, the council s Executive Member for Communities, addressed fellow Members at

DEVON County Council has said it deplores the scale of the post office closures and outreach services that were proposed by Post Office Limited last week.Councillor Brian Berman, the council's Executive Member for Communities, addressed fellow Members at the annual meeting of the full council on (Thursday).He said: "We can express our real sense of dismay at the Government and Post Office Limited's handling of this issue. "We shall be seeking a meeting with Post Office Limited to discuss the situation, and particularly their proposal to replace post offices with outreach services."This is essential in determining how the county council can best help those affected communities and achieve sustainable postal services in those areas wherever possible."Cllr Berman gave a commitment to the full council to engage with all parish councils, postmasters and mistresses, and communities affected by the post office proposals, to help inform the council on the local effects and opportunities for sustainable post office services being created.He added: "The county council confirms its willingness to invest in achieving sustainable post office services for the affected communities."As a priority, the council would like to see post office services retained or enhanced: n In areas where growth in the size of communities is planned or likely. n Where there are high levels of deprivation and where the loss of a post office could further disadvantage vulnerable people.n Where the closure would threaten the viability of the only shop in the community, an associated business or other local businesses.n Where closure will lead to a significant increase in road journeys to access post office services. The county council will also work with MPs, other local government partners and any other organisations to try and retain sustainable post office services for the affected communities.North Devon Council is urging people to take part in the public consultation on the proposed service changes.Cllr Des Brailey, Lead Member for Community and Spatial Planning said: "I think it's very sad that North Devon is amongst the areas in Devon with the most closures. It's very sad for the rural areas and small Post Offices of Goodleigh and Bishops Tawton and also for the communities of Lynmouth, Ilfracombe, Combe Martin and Barbrook who are going to suffer. However I will press the Post Office to try and get mobile post offices into those areas."Steve Pitcher, Executive Director (Regeneration and Development) said: "Whilst the council understands the need to achieve a viable post office network, its first duty is to represent the interests of its communities. We will work with the local community to understand the impacts of these proposals and to identify the best way forward in each case."Public consultation on the Post Office proposals is open until Monday, June 30. People can write to Tim Nickolls, Network Development Manager, c/o National Consultation Team, FREEPOST CONSULTATION TEAM to give their views. Visit www.postoffice.co.uk for more information.n Post offices in North Devon under risk of closure are: Bishops Tawton; East-the-Water (Barnstaple Street); Goodleigh; Lynmouth; Ilfracombe (Portland Street); Combe Martin; Sutcombe (Holsworthy); Ashreigney; Ashwater (Beaworthy); Bishops Nympton; Bratton Fleming; Bridgerule (Holsworthy); Buckland Brewer; Burrington; Chittlehamholt; Clovelly; Langtree; Shebbear; West Buckland and West Down.