Final stamp of disapproval
PUBLISHED: 10:50 23 November 2006 | UPDATED: 11:14 06 May 2010
AMID controversy, a popular central post office closed its doors for the final time yesterday (Wednesday) and The Comet was there to wish the staff well. Letchworth GC s main post office on Broadway has closed, with a smaller franchised branch opening tod
AMID controversy, a popular central post office closed its doors for the final time yesterday (Wednesday) and The Comet was there to wish the staff well.
Letchworth GC's main post office on Broadway has closed, with a smaller franchised branch opening today (Thursday) in McColl's in Station Road, Letchworth.
The move has gone ahead despite fierce opposition from residents, Comet readers, Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation, North East Herts MP Oliver Heald, district councillors and Letchworth Garden City Council.
The general consensus is that the new branch is too small to cope with the number of customers and too far away from the central bus stops, especially for its many elderly customers.
Independent watchdog Postwatch was also dissatisfied because McColl's could be demolished as part of the Heritage Foundation's plans to redevelop the town centre.
The Comet was there to speak to the last customers at the post office and to present flowers to staff members.
One of the final customers said: "I'm annoyed because I don't think the public consultation was public. I don't think they listened at all to needs.
"I think it's going to be very difficult for elderly and disabled people in Station Road.
"I want to know what the Heritage Foundation is doing about the improvement of the town and relocation of the post office. We want a post office in the town."
A former post office worker, who had worked there for 10 years, said: "I just think it's pretty appalling.
"I can understand them closing the current post office because it's in a large building and they are only using a fraction of it, but I think they have put the new post office in the wrong place.
"It's practically the last shop in the town before you drive out. It's very difficult to park there and it's on a hill, so it's not accessible for the elderly."
Customer Pat Bailey from Letchworth GC said: "I think it's a great pity that something that's been here for so long and is part of the community is closing."
A postman, who wished to remain anonymous, said: "We are going to have problems with parking and collecting at the new place. There is not going to be as much space. We envisage problems next week."
The branch manager, Nerina Edwards, said: "I'm concerned for my customers because they feel the new post office is too far away for them, but it may be a case of just getting used to the change."
A post office clerk, who wished to remain anonymous, said: "It's too far away for everyone, especially the disabled."
A spokesman for the branch said: "The branch manager and the staff at Letchworth Post Office would like to thank all our customers for their loyal support over the years and for all their kind words over the last few weeks.
"We thank The Comet and it's readers for all of their efforts in trying to keep the office open.
"We are very sad to leave and would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a merry Christmas and a happy New Year.