Monday, 16 December 2019

Councillors push for return of post office

COUNCILLORS in Wargrave are pressing for the return of postal services to the village.

The old post office counter was at Victoria News in Victoria Road, which closed in August when owners Chris and Fiona Keast decided to sell up after 18 years.

Since then, residents have had to use the post offices in Woodley, Twyford, Henley or Hurst.

The Post Office has said it is in negotiations with potential “service providers” and parish councillor Nick Hart has been liaising with Antoinette Chitty, the area network manager.

Wargrave Parish Council is concerned about elderly and infirm villagers who are unable to travel to other post offices.

Speaking at a council meeting, Councillor Hart said: “There are two possible solutions. The first is a mobile outreach service and the other is to house the services in Wargrave library. The second of those is the ideal scenario.

“They could run a mobile service but it would only be for two hours a week. That is minor but it is better than nothing. It would be busy in that two-hour period.

“Ideally, we would have somewhere on the high street. On the basis that there is someone there all the time, they [the Post Office] will pay for everything to go into the library if that is a feasible option. If not, it will have to be a mobile van.

“It is such a huge loss for the village not to have a post office. We need to have a long-term solution, even if it is just for four hours a day.”

Councillor Marion Pope said: “I know someone who would be willing to oversee it and they are qualified but it is a question of finding the right space.

“I don’t think the library is big enough and it is not open all the time.”

She added: “There are lots of elderly people who are lost without it and do not have access to transport. Some people can’t get out to Twyford and the one in Charvil has also closed.

“What are people going to do at Christmas? It is ludicrous — just to have it for two hours a week would not be feasible.”

Council chairman Dick Bush said he would be happy for the mobile service to be based at the council’s car park, adding: “There are a lot of people who are really hurt by us not having a post office service here.”

The counter at the Nisa Local in Charvil closed in May after Post Office officials said they had to make the best use of resources.

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