Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Anger over Plan to Close Thriving PO; Bosses Say All Views Will Be Considered

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Anger over Plan to Close Thriving PO; Bosses Say All Views Will Be Considered

Article excerpt

Byline: Dave Black

POST Office bosses have been accused of incompetence over the proposed closure of a flourishing branch which serves an elderly population in an isolated rural area of Northumberland.

The sub-post office in Scots Gap west of Morpeth - which serves the village itself and a dozen small outlying communities - is doing so well that its operators want to extend the 20 hours a week it opens by up to 50%.

Instead, sub-postmaster Clive Oddy and his wife Susan have been told that their Village Shop branch is to be closed and replaced by an "outreach service" in the local Methodist Chapel, which will open four hours on a Wednesday and one hour on a Friday.

The couple, who run the business with their daughter Debbie Price, say the decision will mean elderly people having to make round trips of at least 12 miles to access the nearest alternative post offices when the Chapel is not open.

Mr and Mrs Oddy say they have significantly increased business since the local sub-post office branch moved from nearby Cambo to their Scots Gap shop three years ago, and struggle to meet the demand for post office services.

They claim Post Office Ltd officials have given the false impression locally that they don't want to maintain the post office service in their shop if they can't have extra opening hours.

Mrs Oddy, 61, says if the branch closes, local customers will face round trips of 12 miles to Kirkwhelpington, 22 miles to Rothbury, 20 miles to West Woodburn and 20 miles to Morpeth to access alternative post offices when the Methodist Chapel is not open. …

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