Axe falls on ALL seven post offices under threat

WORST fears were realised this week as the axe fell on seven post offices in Hastings.

Thursday, 2nd September 2004, 3:40 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th June 2018, 11:21 pm

Post Office Ltd is scrapping ALL the branches threatened in April in its modernisation programme '” leaving customers out in the cold and neighbouring businesses fearing for survival.

The news sent shockwaves through the town with customers fearing long walks to the nearest branch, additional travelling expense and the loss of their social network.

Hundreds of protestors opposed the plans, signing petitions and taking to the streets.

But despite public consultation and potential impact on deprived areas and regeneration plans, the death bell has tolled for Bohemia Place, Clive Vale, Harold Road, Mount Pleasant, St Helen's, St James and Fernside Avenue branches. There are 20 branch post offices left in Hastings.

Muscular Dystrophy sufferer Kenneth Lebreton, 75, of Sherwood Close, said: "It's wicked. We've fought for the last four months against it, but the Post Office doesn't take a blind bit of notice. It's all about money for them, never mind what the people think. People relied on Mount Pleasant Road as a social gathering, everybody knew everybody.

"We've got a lot of elderly people round here - it's an inconvenience and there'll be additional expense to get benefits."

Residents fear scrapping the Clive Vale office, Mount Road, will have a devastating effect on the Halton area.

The closure is going ahead despite demand likely to increase with the Millennium Communities estate being built there.

Tania Eaglen, 31, chairman of Halton Residents Association, said: "Halton is deprived and people do not leave the area, they use the local amenities.

"It's going to have a knock-on effect on businesses - it will ruin the block of shops here, they're already dilapidated and this makes it even worse.

"Some of the elderly people are not going to be able to get to Ore or the town centre. And we have a high percentage of disabled people here. I'm concerned about how difficult it will make life for single mums who are going to have to get a bus into town. In the past they could have gone down the road, got some bread, done a bit of shopping and gone home."

Dorothy Wood, 76, runs Woods Newsagents, near the Bohemia Road branch, which closed temporarily in July. She said: "We have noticed a real slowing down in trade, we have been losing money. I hate to think what will happen to us in the future. All the pensioners are heading to Silverhill to get their pensions. Other shops along the road have been complaining too."

Council leader Jeremy Birch said: "The Post Office obviously has no interest in serving the needs of the community. I would urge people to keep on protesting and say they feel their needs have been ignored. It does not seem they have taken on board the points we raised on regeneration and depravation issues in the town, or the consultation. They have just said 'we're going ahead with it anyway'."

Post Office area head Paul Simmonds said: "We have carefully considered our original proposal on an individual branch basis, whilst also taking into account the needs of the Hastings area as a whole. Of course no one likes to see the branch nearest to them shut but, even with these closures, customers still have reasonable access to alternative Post Office services customers value and trust. We remain satisfied the remaining branches in the area are suitably located and offer the right services to meet the needs of the local community."

Alternative branches suggested are Silverhill, Springfield Road, London Road, Old London Road, George Street, Cambridge Road, Bexhill Road, Vicarage Road and Malvern Way.

p LEFT, protesters in March.