Post office closures in Welwyn Hatfield and Potters Bar rubber stamped

PUBLISHED: 10:49 22 August 2008 | UPDATED: 22:18 26 October 2009

POSTMASTERS have been left devastated after it was confirmed four branches in Times Territory are to close. The post offices in Marsden Road, WGC, and in Salisbury Square and Roe Green, Bishops Rise, both in Hatfield, will shut by the end of the year, Roy

POSTMASTERS have been left devastated after it was confirmed four branches in Times Territory are to close.

The post offices in Marsden Road, WGC, and in Salisbury Square and Roe Green, Bishops Rise, both in Hatfield, will shut by the end of the year, Royal Mail chiefs said.

The counter in Church Road, Little Heath, is also to be chopped.

The axe falls despite a mass of public support, petitions, and the WHT's Your Post Office Needs You campaign.

Furious Welwyn Hatfield MP Grant Shapps attacked the announcement, saying the Government has shown "complete and utter contempt to our community".

He added: "It almost feels like they are out to wreck our area."

Former borough councillor Dennis Lewis, who set up a council of war to try and save the Marsden Road branch, was equally scathing.

He said: "This decision is grossly perverse and a monstrous negation of the rights of the elderly, infirm and vulnerable people in the Handside area.

"There is considerable public anger because the local community, having risen up in opposition to this retrograde step, made its views clear."

However, he added the council of war was not giving up yet and was determined to fight on.

A total of 41 post offices were earmarked for the chop when a public consultation for the South Essex, South Herts and Bucks area was announced in June.

All but four - branches in Gerrards Cross, High Wycombe, Southend and Bourne End - had their fate confirmed and will shut as first proposed.

Network development manager Gary Herbert said: "These are difficult decisions which have not been taken lightly.

"We have considered very carefully all the comments made during the public consultation.

"We believe the amended plan announced today offers our customers across South Essex, South Herts and Bucks, the best prospect for a sustainable network in the future, bearing in mind the Government's minimum access criteria and the other factors the Government has asked us to consider."

A total of 2,500 branches across the country will close as part of the programme.

POSTMASTERS' REACTION

Richard Edlin, of Marsden Road

He said: "We've been through a whole load of emotions, but right now I'm angry.

"It seems like the whole town has disagreed with the decision to close the post office and everyone I know apart from a group at Post Office Ltd.

"We're not going to give up.

"We've lost the battle but we haven't lost the war."

Sona Patel, of Roe Green

She said: "There was still that last bit of hope.

"We really feel for all the customers that we have served for 20 years, especially for the older ones who don't have cars.

"I would like to say thank you to everyone who has supported us and to your newspaper for its help."

Loga Pradhaban, of Salisbury Square

She said: "I am devastated, especially for the community of Old Hatfield.

"It's almost like the whole square will be dead as there is nothing left to keep the community spirit going.

"I feel for the elderly as this has always been a place for them to meet others and get their pensions.

"I would like to think there is some hope, a light at the end of the tunnel, but I can see very little of it.

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