PETITIONS will not stop closures of 10 post offices in the Huddersfield area, post office chiefs have warned.
Post offices in Golcar, Rawthorpe, Primrose Hill, Leeds Road, Hillhouse, Greenside, Berry Brow, Elland and Rastrick could shut after Post Office Ltd finish its public consultations on December 23.
The idea has provoked outrage in Kirklees and two officials from Post Office Ltd faced tough questioning by Kirklees councillors yesterday.
Managers Matt Silcock and Peter Mylchreest explained to a meeting of the council's Overview and Scrutiny Committee why Post Office Ltd need to close urban post offices .
They said sending in petitions opposing the closures would not have any effect.
Mr Silcock said: "It doesn't always mean a lot. We need detailed and specific feedback."
He said the amount of people using post offices was taken into account along with population age and transport provision in the area when deciding which offices would close.
He said: "What would change our mind is feedback on anything fundamental that we might have missed."
Mr Silcock said some areas had surplus post offices that needed to be closed to save cash.
Post Office Ltd lost £194 million last year, partly due to decreased usage.
This is partly thanks to the Government's new system of paying benefits directly into bank accounts, although cash can still be drawn out at post offices using a new card system.
Mr Silcock said: "Sub post masters are making a loss and handing in their notice. That leaves gaps in the network. We decided planned closures are better than ad hoc closures."
Mr Mylchreest added: "We simply can't treat it as a social amenity. If we don't so something to reduce costs there will be no network."
Both officials said 90% of people would still be within a mile of a post office.
They also claimed remaining post offices would benefit from increased trade.
However, their explanations were met with anger from some councillors.
Clr Linda Wild said: "How can you expect an 80-year-old person to walk a mile when there is no bus route?
"People can get cash paid into their bank, but older people don't always want that."
Clr Robert Iredale, whose ward is Golcar, said: "You will have closed four out of seven post offices in the ward. What would it take for you to change your mind?
"We spent thousands putting a crossing across Cowlersley Road to the post office and you are closing it."
Several councillors suggested putting Post Office facilities in local shops or petrol stations, but Mr Silcock and Mr Mylchreest said this often proved too expensive.
They said facilities for paying bills and buying stamps were available in many newsagents through the PayPoint system.
Clr Annie Smith said using PayPoint and getting money paid into bank accounts could help cut muggings and burglaries against elderly people.
Several councillors agreed that some post offices must close.
Clr Jean Calvert said: "From what I can see it is very sensible. I commend what they have done."
Clr Molly Walton added: " I recognise that post offices have to close. It is a business like anything else. "
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