North Devon MP, Nick Harvey has expressed his exasperation with the announcement by The Post Office Ltd that it is to press ahead with its closure programme in North Devon. Here in North Devon The Post Office Ltd has been an immovable object with no rep
North Devon MP, Nick Harvey has expressed his exasperation with the announcement by The Post Office Ltd that it is to press ahead with its closure programme in North Devon."Here in North Devon The Post Office Ltd has been an immovable object with no reprieve for the six Post Offices set for complete closure, and a few thin crumbs of comfort for the seven communities where a form of "Outreach" service is to be provided," he said."The consultation has turned a deaf ear to the cogent and logical arguments put forwards by elected representatives from parish councils through to the county council as well as personal lobbying by myself. They have ignored the clear wishes of community after community to retain their post offices as a key local service and a cornerstone of the local community."Mr Harvey said he accepted that the Post Office Ltd found itself in an impossible situation following under-investment under successive governments, but these closures were now cutting deeply into the Post Office's greatest marketing asset - its high level of penetration into communities across the whole country. He said: "Nationally there seems to be a lamentable level of appreciation as to the contribution local post offices make to the viability of the rural economy, and little vision as to how the network could be developed in the future. Without full recognition of both those elements, sadly I cannot see this round of closures being the last."There is an appeal process through Postwatch, the consumer watchdog, but as they only saw merit in opposing closures in south and east Devon at the previous stage, I would not feel too optimistic on that front."For the villages to be served by an Outreach service the closure report merely states that the form of the service - whether via a mobile van or a hosted service in a shop, pub or garage - is yet to be finalised. Time will tell if the arguments for more convenient opening times have hit home over the last few weeks. With a contract only for one year the offer is hardly one to set an entrepreneur's pulses racing!"It is indeed a sad day for many communities both in North Devon and across the County more generally.