'Save our post office'

BARROW Gurney Parish council is appealing to North Somerset Council to save its post office.

BARROW Gurney Parish council is appealing to North Somerset Council to save its

post office.

The village shop has been earmarked for closure as part of a nationwide review by the Post Office, but councillors say it will leave a huge hole in the community if it is shut down.

The parish council is urging North Somerset Council save the post office by taking over the running of the facility.

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Council chairman Geoff Coombes said: "We are exploring new ways of keeping the

shop open.

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"It's extremely difficult for people to get to the post offices in other villages, so we are hoping North Somerset Council will help us to save it.

"The post office is a wonderful rural facility and an important part of the village.

Without it it's just going to be that little bit sadder."

In Essex, the county council is looking into the possibility of taking over 16 of the 32 post offices threatened with closure at a cost of £1.5million over three years and Barrow Gurney councillors are hoping North Somerset will take similar action.

The council's executive is believed to be meeting with officers this week to discuss whether a similar option could be considered in the district.

Mr Coombes said: "The cost of running the post office it is not very high, so why close it? It's only open three mornings a week.

"The premises belong to the Barrow Estate so we get it at a peppercorn rent. They would just need to pay for the postmistress' wages and some lighting and heating.

"It's a lovely little social facility and one of the prettiest post offices in the country. It adds so much to the village."

The six-week consultation period for people to have their say on the closures ends on April 7 and the parish council is urging people to write in to the company to help save the shop.

Post Office spokesman, Richard Hall, said: "We are happy to engage with any local authorities to explain what's involved with running a branch.

"They would have to commit to funding it until at least 2011 and take on all the costs including providing staff and premises as well as deliveries, stock and maintaining IT."

People can voice their views at www.postoffice.co.uk/netwoekchange, on 08457 22

33 44 or by emailing consultation@postoffice.co.uk

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