Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Proposed closure of Seal Post Office - download a petition form here

Many people in the village were shocked and dismayed to hear that the post office was one of those scheduled for closure. It is clear that it isn't currently financially viable, and this seems to be the main reason why it has been chosen for closure - it just doesn't get enough trade. However, for many of those who do use it, it is a lifeline. Apart from the obvious things like posting parcels, there are still people who need to use it to collect benefits in cash, or to get cash from their bank accounts - there's no cash machine in the village or anywhere near it.

As ever, those who will suffer most tend to be those who may already find life a struggle - elderly or disabled people and those who cannot afford to run a car. Around 12 % 1 in 9) of the households in the village don't have a car - a surprisingly large number. There is a bus service but anyone who uses it, as I do, will know that it is rather patchy, especially in the afternoons. There are no bus shelters in the centre of the village, or at the next nearest local post offices, leaving people sometimes facing a long wait in the wind and the rain for a bus.

There are alternatives, though - something which is not entirely clear from the official literature the Post Office has distributed. Mobile post offices can be provided, or "hosted" services, using existing community buildings. A petition has been drawn up, asking the Post Office network managers to consider such options for Seal. You can sign this petition in the church or in Highland Printers in the High Street. You could also download a copy here, and gather some signatures from those around you. Simply send me the petition form by 1st Nov and I will send it on to the Post Office for their consultation deadline of 12th Nov.

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