Future promising after Post Office announces its closure

A village post office under threat of closure could move to new premises after several groups expressed interest taking on the franchise.

Wednesday, 30th March 2016, 3:23 pm
Updated Friday, 8th June 2018, 1:00 am
David Barling post office SUS-160329-154819001

The post office in Upper Beeding is set to close its doors within the next year after owners said it was no longer financially viable.

Residents feared the closure would leave elderly and vulnerable people living in the village unable to access basic postal services.

But following a campaign by councillors several groups have stepped forward to express their interest in taking on a post office franchise.

They include the chance of a branch in the Baptist church hall as well as possible new premises in Hyde Square.

On Friday, March 25, West Sussex County Councillor David Barling met with parish councillors in hopes of attracting further interest from local businesses.

He said: “Both I and the parish council are very concerned to make sure we have a Post Office service in Upper Beeding because it’s useful for local residents and particularly the elderly.”

After the meeting, parish council chairman Simon Birnstingl said: “We are lucky enough to have a very generous community who have stepped in to help.”

Mr Barling and the parish is currently liaising with the Post Office to find a suitable alternative location.

Mr Barling said: “We have made the Post Office aware of this and they are looking at a church ”

Upper Beeding Baptist Church, in Church Lane, is currently in the application process to become the next sub-postmaster.

“I had a productive conversation with a representative at the Post Office and it’s quite promising, but it’s still a work in progress and we’re doing all that we can,” he added.

The closure comes after Post Office Ltd announced plans to reduce the amount of funding given to local branches.

Under the plans branches are expected to make up the funding shortfall through retail leaving Upper Beeding unable to make up the difference due to its small size.

In 2014, Upper Beeding Post Office’s sub-postmaster Tracy Bognar said the High Street branch was at risk of closing as the company announced it will roll out these major changes.

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