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Shropshire village post office services reprieved

Shrewsbury | News | Published:

Post office outreach services in villages to the south of Shrewsbury have been secured – according to postal bosses.

Local councillor for Chirbury, Heather Kidd, had sought assurances from Post Offices bosses after the postmaster in Pontesbury, Brian Simmonds, announced his wish to retire.

The outreach post offices in Marton, Stiperstones and Wentnor come under his jurisdiction and there were fears for their future should he leave. But, according to the Post Office, following a series of lengthy discussions, a new option has now been found – securing the outreach services for the time being.

Mrs Kidd said: "The problem arose when the postmaster in Pontesbury, who runs these outreaches, announced he was retiring. The first potential candidate who wanted to take over the service was turned down after a consultation where only 38 people replied. It appears the Co-op was approached to take this over but did not want to run outreach services in Marton, Stiperstones and Wentnor. There was doubt over the partnership post office in Worthen. None of these communities were included in the initial consultation.

"From my discussions with Richard Lynds, the Post Office manager responsible, it is clear that they are now looking at another option. What is better is that I have got a categoric assurance that the outreach services will be preserved. It will be important that people in the outreach areas take part in that new consultation."

Charlotte Barnes, Shropshire Councillor for the Wentnor area, added: "These services are crucial to many in our area, especially the elderly. With poor public transport connections these are the only way many can access post office services."

Worthen, Marton, Wentnor and Stiperstones are part-time/outreach post offices set up after the last round of post office closures in 2008. They are meant to provide a service for those without transport in this very rural area.

After Mr Simmonds' announcement he wished to retire, bosses have been seeking an alternative venue for the Post Office in Pontesbury.

One option is to move the Post Office into the Connections building – a move supported by the village. The Post Office initially rejected this but has now agreed to take the proposal back to consultation due to start in mid to late February. A drop-in session will be held in Pontesbury Public Hall from 4.45pm to 7.45pm on March 18. Representatives of the Post Office, Connections, Consumer Futures and Pontesbury Post Office will be on hand to answer questions. The consultation period will end in April. A decision announced in May.

Mrs Kidd added: "I would encourage and welcome everyone to drop in whether you have any questions or concerns which need clarifying or whether you just wish to show your support. I strongly believe that it is the best option.

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