Town Anger at Latest Plans for Post Office Closure

New Post Office
Eastover post office to close

News that Bridgwater Post office in Eastover will close on Friday May 4th was met with anger by Bridgwater Town Council leaders who had fought to secure this site for a Town Centre Post Office in a fierce campaign back in 2012. Bridgwater Town Clerk Alan Hurford said “BTC has  been working  throughout to keep the Post Office in town – ideally where it is and have done more than most in trying to keep it open where it is and to offer alternative solutions, some of which show promise – two or three interests so far – all passed onto PO people.  We are making every effort including next Tuesday and the objection to the planning application at the SDC Development Ctte where we will again make representation

A spokesperson for the Post Office said: “Regrettably Bridgwater Post Office will be temporarily closed from this Friday due to circumstances beyond our control, as the company operating the branch on our behalf is ceasing trading.This unfortunately means that the premises, that we do not own, will no longer be available for Post Office use.We are very sorry in advance to our customers for any inconvenience caused by this unplanned closure.We are working hard to restore Post Office service to the area as soon as possible, and the vacancy is advertised on our website – we would encourage anyone interested in this new business opportunity to get in touch with us. In the meantime, alternative branches in the area include Dunkery Road, Parkway, Hamp and Wembdon.”

The Eastover Post Office branch, had been subject to much debate after a planning application was submitted to convert it into a new tanning salon

Town Council Leader warns of Campaign

council leader
Town Council Leader Brian Smedley says Council will fight to keep a Post Office in town centre

Town Council Leader Cllr Brian Smedley (Labour,Westover) said “People will remember that Bridgwater Town Council was at the forefront of the campaign to save Post Office facilities for our town centre back in 2012 when after closing the Cornhill post office, then moving it into Angel Place, they ended up with a shed on the Splash site. This clearly wasn’t good enough for a growing town such as Bridgwater and at the time their plan was to shove the service into the corner of a Supermarket. We fought hard against that and got the regional manager down who promised us that Bridgwater would have a town centre facility. We worked with them to get the premises in Eastover. Now that the Post Office is again threatened we will naturally lead a campaign to hold Post Office to their  promises and ensure that premises are once more available to people in the town centre.”

At a special meeting called by the Town Council in 2012 and held at Trinity Hall, speaker after speaker stood up and told Post Office Limiteds key decision maker Tony Jones what they thought and criticised plans to move into Sainsburys, pleading for common sense and urging the post office to work with them to keep the post office in the town centre and help to regenerate the place. Chairing the meeting, Town Mayor Cllr Graham Granter restated the Town Councils policy that they unanimously disapproved of the proposal to move to Sainsbury’s and to seek a Town Centre site.

At the time Cllr Smedley said “Supermarkets are not the answer to everything even though according to some people you’d think so . They’re an easy and a cheap solution based on commercial grounds above community needs . We need a Town Centre location – and one was offered in Eastover! We need town centre regeneration, we don’t need extra reasons for people to visit the already booming supermarket empires.”

Tories Chip in

Post office – where now?

Bridgwater MP Ian Liddell-Grainger said he was ‘livid’ at the way the situation had been handled and would be writing to the landlord. “This is simply not acceptable and I am furious. It goes against everything the Post Office stands for,” Mr Liddell-Grainger said. I will be working with the town and district councils on this because it is imperative that Bridgwater has a post office as soon as possible.”

Sedgemoor District Council Leader Cllr Duncan McGinty (Con, East Polden)  issued the following statement “I am extremely disappointed to learn today that the Post Office in Bridgwater town centre is to cease trading this week, on Friday 4th May 2018. The operation and availability of a post office in the town centre of Bridgwater is vital and it would not be in the community interest to be without such a facility. Bridgwater is an increasingly prosperous and growing town and the Post Office is essential and well used by members of the local community. Sedgemoor District Council will be working closely with the Post Office and Ian Liddell-Grainger, MP to ensure that solution is found as quickly as possible.”