Post office in Ashwell to close

Maureen and Robert Coston

Maureen and Robert Coston - Credit: Archant

The post office in Ashwell will close at the end of next month owners have confirmed.

Ashwell Post Office will close at the end of February, the owners have announced.

Maureen Coston and husband Robert are retiring from the role of postmaster, meaning the future of services in Ashwell is up in the air.

Maureen, who has joint owned the post office for 19 years, said: “We’ve done our bit. We wanted to sell it but we can’t as there’s changes in the post office system. Nobody in the village wants to buy the post office as the contract is so poor for the amount of work you do and the responsibility you take on. The rewards are minimal.”

The post office will close on February 28 and the shop will close on March 1.

The 57-year-old said: “At the moment we are paid by the Post Office LTD to run the post office, but under the new system you are only paid for each transaction, which is pennies. This is why nobody wants to buy it.

“Plus with these things there are a high turn over of staff who have to be trained. It’s hard work. If none of the shops take the post office, the Post Office Ltd will run a satellite service in which a van will come for a couple of hours a week. The Post Office don’t care, they just want to get rid of village post offices.”

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Maureen said she would like to thank all the customers who have come through the doors over the years. She said: “We are really grateful for their support.”

Mark White, chairman of Ashwell Parish Council said: ”Thanks to the current providers, Ashwell has enjoyed an excellent post office service and we wish them well in their retirement.

“The Parish Council wants the current level of service provision to continue. We are disappointed that Post Office Ltd has, as yet, been unable to find an alternative site that is willing or able to take over the post office. We have been, and will continue to be, supportive of their efforts to keep this important and valuable asset in our village.”

A spokeswoman for the Post Office Ltd said: “We are committed to maintaining the size of the network and to providing a post office in Ashwell.

“We are also exploring the possibility of opening a hosted outreach service, whereby a nearby Postmaster would operate a part-time post office in the village.”

The vacancy for the post office is currently being advertised on The deadline to respond is February 6.

Alternative Post Office branches in the area are:

· Steeple Morden Post Office, 18 Cheyney Street, Steeple Morden, Royston, SG8 0LP – 2.2 miles away.

· Litlington Post Office, Silver Street, Litlington, Royston, SG8 0QE – 3.9 miles away.

· Baldock Post Office, 36 Whitehorse Street, Baldock, SG7 6QJ – 4.5 miles away.