Wigan MP’s anger at Post Office closure

Yvonne Fovargue MP has called for urgent action to protect local post offices, following confirmation that Orrell Post Office is to close permanently.
Makerfield MP Yvonne FovargueMakerfield MP Yvonne Fovargue
Makerfield MP Yvonne Fovargue

The Post Office in St James Road closed its doors unexpectedly last September when its postmaster resigned. Its fate was left in limbo, with the Post Office spending the last 12 months trying to find a successor.

But today, in a letter to the MP for Makerfield, the company has confirmed the doors will not reopen after it was “unable to identify a suitable solution.”

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Ms Fovargue, MP for Makerfield, said the residents who would be hit the hardest by the closure would be the elderly and disadvantaged.

In a letter to Ms Fovargue, Post Office Ltd wrote: “The Post Office closed last year for reasons beyond our control as the postmaster resigned. Since then we have been exploring our options for restoring a Post Office service to our customers in the area.

“The vacancy in Orrell had been advertised on our website and a member of the field team had also personally visited the area, but so far we have received no interest or formal applications for the position.

“Unfortunately, we have been unable to identify a suitable solution and I’m therefore writing to you to advise you that as there have been no suitable opportunities to re-establish a service, this branch will remain closed.

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“We would of course consider any appropriate options if there are any significant changes in the area in the future.

“However due to the length of time the branch has been closed, we would need to satisfy ourselves that any new opportunity would be sustainable for both the Post Office and the operator.”

Ms Fovargue said: “Post offices are a valued part of communities, providing an anchor in many villages and towns across the UK.

“More must be done to secure a sustainable future for our local post offices.

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“Our Post offices need a lifeline and we should look at them providing services for a fair return and the case for Government funding to maintain the network going beyond 2021.”

The closure follows warnings earlier this year by the National Federation of SubPostmasters (NFSP) that 2,500 local offices could close around the UK siting the ending of Government subsidy to the Post Office network in 2021.

The NFSP has called on the government to reconsider this decision and guarantee the subsidy beyond 2021.