Sunday, 17 February 2008

Post Offices to close?

Hopetown Post Office, on Brinkburn Road, is one of the five Post Offices within the Borough threatened with closure in the consultation document published by the Post Office on February 12th. Two others, Cleveland Terrace and Milbank, are in the urban area, and two in the villages (Heighington and Hurworth Place). The top photo above is the Cleveland Terrace Post Office, with protest banners slung outside. Below, I am discussing the closure plans with Hopetown postmaster, Stuart Clarke.

Typically, when this "breaking news" was reported to the Cabinet on Tuesday evening, Cabinet members were told that three were closing, which should confirm everyone's views about the importance with which our villages are viewed by this Labour Council.
As I said in my letter published in the Echo last week, and as you can see in the Post Office consultation document, Darlington Council failed to respond to Post Office requests for stakeholders to make representations in advance of the publication of the document, though seven other neighbouring Councils did.
I do not know whether any of these post offices can be saved, but the potential loss of these valuable community facilities, which my colleague Cllr Fred Lawton warned the Council about back in October 2007 (in an email which was not even acknowledged until January 2008!) would be regrettable.

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