Gotherington could lose sub post office
CONCERNS have been raised that Gotherington could lose its post office.
Post mistress Madeline Sunderland said she and her husband Mike were worried about the long-term future of the sub-post office inside Gotherington Village Store.
Government plans to down-scale them into what are called "Local" post offices could put the service in jeopardy.
A sub-post office offers services from banking and benefits to lottery tickets and tax discs, but a Local branch would be reduced to a desk at the end of a counter in another business.
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It would offer less services, axing, for example, passport or driving licence applications, insurance, foreign currency, the option to post parcels weighing more than 5kg, over-the-counter manual banking cash withdrawals and deposits, and payment by cheque.
Mrs Sunderland, who has run the sub-post office since January 2009, said she had to make a decision about its future.
She said it was struggling as a sub-post office with a low footfall but turning it into a local post office would cost thousands of pounds.
As a Local post office, Madeline's salary could also be reduced to just £3,000 a year.
Mrs Sunderland said: "I'm only a sub-post office at the moment and going Local would be a great benefit to the majority of our residents.
"Some might lose out due to the reduction of certain services though and the loss in income would be a devastating blow to me."
The problem, Mrs Sunderland said, was that it would be hard for the business to survive.
She added: "It really is strange why we are used so little, we have parking spaces directly outside and offer almost as many services as a main post office.
"With the steady decline in trade, it is clear that we cannot continue as we are."
Converting to a Local would mean she would have to remove the current 'box' in the office, which would costs "thousands of pounds".
An alternative would be to invest in an open counter, although conversion could rack up a £20,000 bill.
Councillor Phil Aplin, from Gotherington parish council, said: "The loss of the post office would be very difficult for the village.
"We don't want to lose either the store or post office. They are both very much valued here in Gotherington."