Post Office closure threat is ‘appalling’

IMPASSIONED pleas to save Tipton St John sub Post Office prompted district councillors to make robust representations against the proposed closure.

IMPASSIONED pleas to save Tipton St John sub Post Office prompted district councillors to make "robust" representations against the proposed closure.

Sixty Tipton residents and sub-postmistress Alita Pace were at The Knowle on Wednesday, June 4, in a show of unity, to lobby EDDC's executive.

Closure would mean the end of Tipton's only grocery shop, resulting in a two-hour bus journey to the nearest store.

Protestor Eleanor Wragg said: "It is the heart of the village, people need to go to get their pensions.

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"We hope they [Post Office] realise what an appalling decision they have come to by suggesting getting rid of the only shop in the village."

Mrs Pace's husband Mark praised the 'overwhelming' turnout of protestors, saying: "Alita and I have made many friends in the village and it is a fact they [Post Office] are ripping the heart out of the village."

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Backing their cause, Councillor Roger Giles hoped the executive realised closure would have a devastating effect.

In the chamber, residents' feelings were made clear to councillors, already in favour of adding their views to the argumetn to keep the outlet open.

Mr Pace said without the Post Office income his wife would be unable to keep the shop running.

"I can't expect Alita to go on running it on a sub-standard wage," he said, adding: "It is a two-hour bus journey to Newton Poppleford or West Hill post offices and surely the people of Tipton St John cannot be expected to walk three miles there and back."

EDDC Post Office champion, Councillor Ken Potter, a postmaster for 35 years, warned: "If no new business goes into the network between now and 2011, Government subsidies would be withdrawn and a further 8,000 closures would be made.

"We don't want to lose any Post Office and everything will be done to save the most needy cases."

To applause, Councillor Graham Liverton said: "Government doesn't understand rural areas. They talk about sustainability but want to force people to drive elsewhere." He sympathised with residents, saying: "We must defend this way of life, otherwise Post Offices will close down."

Councillor Ann Liverton said loss of Post Offices meant loss of village stores, leading to dormitory villages.

Councillor Sara Randall Johnson said: "We will make a robust response. I don't want to see post offices closing.

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