Post office closure threat opposed

PUBLISHED: 20:28 18 August 2008 | UPDATED: 16:29 05 May 2010

DOZENS of people marched in protest of plans to close the post office in Whitwell. With a police escort, more than 50 villagers marched from Whitwell to Kimpton on Saturday in a bid to throw cold water on the Post Office s claims it is within walking dist

DOZENS of people marched in protest of plans to close the post office in Whitwell.

With a police escort, more than 50 villagers marched from Whitwell to Kimpton on Saturday in a bid to throw cold water on the Post Office's claims it is within walking distance.

Postmaster Norma Fears said: "It took us an hour to get there, and we are all able-bodied, fit and healthy. There's also no pavement and there are lots of blind bends and hills.

"I think we proved a point. It's not really practical for anyone who is not fit and healthy."

She said Whitwell has a high percentage of elderly residents, and many will not be able to walk this distance. According to the 2001 census, 24.76 per cent of residents in the village are pensioners, compared to 19.7 per cent in Hertfordshire as a whole.

John Vaughan, chairman of St Paul's Walden Parish Council, said: "It's certainly not a viable walk for old people."

Almost 200 residents attended a recent public meeting, organised by the parish council and attended by representatives from the Post Office, and more than 1,000 people have signed a petition against the proposed post office closure.

Norma said: "People really need to get in there now with their views and we are encouraging people to write letters."

The public consultation into post office closures ends next Tuesday (August 26). Anyone wishing to register their comments can either do so online at www.directenquiries.com by e-mail to consultation@postoffice.co.uk by phone on 08457 22 33 44 or by post to Laura Tarling, network development manager, National Consultation Team, Post Office Ltd, Freepost Consultation Team.

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