Kirklees cabinet acts on Post Office closures
Jun 26 2008 by Barry Gibson, Huddersfield Daily Examiner
KIRKLEES councillors are looking at ways of keeping Post Offices open as ten more post office face the axe.
One way would be following the example of Essex County Council, which wants to spend £1.5m to save 15 of 31 post offices threatened with closure in its area.
Earlier this month the Post Office announced plans to close 10 branches in north Kirklees.
And Clr Robert Light warned last night that further branches in and around Huddersfield could be axed.
The 10 north Kirklees branches are: Bradford Road, Staincliffe and Soothill in Batley, Savile Town in Dewsbury, Fieldhead in Birstall, Whitley near Thornhill, Six Lane Ends in Heckmondwike, Hopton and Knowle in Mirfield and East Bierley.
More closure plans around the Huddersfield area will be announced in August.
And Clr Light warned it could be very bad news. He said: “My big fear is that we’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg and we could see far more closures in south Kirklees.”
The Post Office’s latest closure plan involves 2,500 branches nationwide as it aims to stem losses of £500,000 a day.
But, speaking at a meeting of the Council’s Cabinet, Clr Light criticised the process.
He said: “The Government seems to be taking the line ‘thou shalt close 2,500 post offices, end of story’. When you look at the criteria which the Post Office is using to decide which branches to shut, it’s quite clear they don’t really care as long as they get the numbers.
“Post offices are viable businesses. The one in East Bierley has never made more profit than it’s making at the minute, but it’s still being closed to meet a Government target.”
Clr Andrew Palfreeman, Cabinet member for finance, said Kirklees was looking at ways of keeping branches open.
He said: “I received a long briefing note from Essex on Tuesday morning and I want to see if we can do something similar. However, it’s difficult to commit to anything until we get the full story across Kirklees.”
Cabinet member Ken Sims added that postmasters were being prevented from organising residents to resist closure plans.
He said: “I’m appalled at the draconian measures being used to stop post offices relaying information about how they can be kept open.
“It’s restricting and it must have come from Government.”