Lack of official support for PO
PUBLISHED: 16:44 04 July 2008 | UPDATED: 09:13 10 June 2010
RESIDENTS have launched a withering attack on plans to close the St Andrews Road Post Office as local authorities fail to back the branch. As the consultation period on the future of Devon's 14 threatened branches ends this week, a campaign group backin
RESIDENTS have launched a withering attack on plans to close the St Andrews Road Post Office - as local authorities fail to back the branch.As the consultation period on the future of Devon's 14 threatened branches ends this week, a campaign group backing the Exmouth service labelled the process "a sham".Campaigners says they were snubbed by Post Office Limited as they sought face-to-face meetings over the future of St Andrews sub-postmaster Don Arscott's store.Group organiser Ian Dowell, of Exmouth Quay, said: "As a dialogue with the public, the process must rank alongside Mugabe's Zimbabwe elections."The branch's surrounding community - keen to preserve the facility to save older residents from a long walk to a busy town centre branch - camped outside the post office for a week in early June to collect 1,200 signatures in support of sub-postmaster Don Arscott.After receiving the data from interviews with signatories, PO Ltd offered a meeting, which the group were unable to attend due to short notice. Campaigners sought to meet the following day, only to be told the consultation was by then closed.Morton Road resident and campaign member John Thorogood added: "The Post Office were underhand when they withdrew an offer to meet us at the 11th hour. They are arrogant and the whole thing has been a sham."Devon local authorities - including the county council and district council - submitted their views in the consultation last week - highlighting 10 county branches they considered worthy of retention.The St Andrew Road branch failed to make the list, as did other threatened local stores, at Greenaway Lane in Budleigh Salterton, and Clyst St George.The partnership backed three East Devon branches - at Millwey Rise in Axminster, Offwell and Tipton St John - calling for care for Devon's older communities.The closure proposals saw more than a fifth of Devon's branches under threat - too many in an area populated by a high proportion of older residents, say authorities.Chairman of the partnership of Devon authorities Steve Pitcher said: "Our group of local authority representatives and partners have been working together very closely on our joint response to the Devon Post Office Network Review Team's proposals. The response represents a clear consensus of us all and I hope that Post Office Ltd pays serious attention to it." A Post Office spokesperson said: "The public consultation has ended for the Devon plan and no decisions have yet been reached."We did offer a meeting on June 30 - the last day of the public consultation - but unfortunately this was too short notice for the residents so no meeting took place. We can, however, assure everyone who has contacted us that all representations will be fully considered before any decisions are taken. No announcements will be made for several weeks as we want to take time to review all the feedback in detail.