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FURY AT CLOSURES; Locals say axing post offices will destroy area.


RESIDENTS, business people and MPs today reacted angrily over the axing of more post offices across Merseyside.

The Post Office has earmarked 2, 500 across the country for closure - 2, 000 have already been shut including the Lyceum in Liverpool city centre.

Next week a new wave of closures will hit Merseyside.

Willard Street post office, on the corner of Hawthorne Road, Bootle, is set to close.

Local business people say that will trigger a knock-on effect.

Elizabeth James, 62, of Monfa Road, said many elderly people in the area would suffer.

``I use this post office to collect my pension and to pay my bills. I don't know what I'm going to do. ''

Roxannah Ali, 30, who runs Ali's News on Hawthorne Road, said: ``I'm going to lose my business over this.

``We do our banking and everything else from this branch and most of our customers spill over into our shop from there.

``The whole community will be devastated. ''

The post office is due to close on February 3.

Joe Benton, Labour MP for Bootle, condemned the closure.

``I am bitterly disappointed post offices are closing - it is a major blow to the community.

``I asked them to rethink their plans to shut the post office but they are going ahead with it.

``The Post Office may argue there are other offices within a half a mile radius - but for the elderly or the sick that distance is often too great. ''

The Post Office defended their decision.

Head of area for the Post Office Dave Barrett said: ``I appreciate that it will be inconvenient for some people to use alternative post offices.

``I still believe that the closure of these offices is the correct course of action. ''

Mail watchdog Postwatch is unhappy about the closures but vowed to oversee improvements to remaining offices.

Spokesman Mike Jones said: ``As Post Office Ltd has decided to close these offices we have asked them to make improvements to the remaining branches in the area.

``We will check that these offices have the resources to cope with the increased number of customers. ''

Branches at Blundellsands Road East, Bridge Road and Myers Road East, Crosby, and St John's Road, Waterloo, will close next Wednesday.

Offices to be axed by March include Mill Park, Eastham (closes January 17), Yew Tree, Moreton; Malpas Road, Wallasey; Gilroy Road, West Kirby; Market Street, Hoylake (all January 29), and Bebington; Broadway; Egremont; The Village, Wallasey; Overchurch, Birkenhead, and Upper Brighton (February 1 and 2).

Port Sunlight and Town Meadow Lane, Moreton, offices are set to close at the start of February.

In Sefton, Hillside post office, Southport, will close on January 31.

Twickenham Drive in Leasowe is also due to be axed but no date has yet been set.

Your view

Pauline Carney, 43, Bootle ``I have a bone disease, so though I'm relatively young I won't be able to get to another post office by foot. This office is a part of the fabric of this area. ''

Andrew Adam, 26, bar supervisor, Orrell Park ``I travel from Maghull because this post office is so good and the staff bend over backwards to help.

I don't know where we will bank when this place closes. ''

Maureen Newman, 56, council worker, Bootle ``I've been coming here for 40 years and a lot of elderly people have come to rely on this post office. I can see people falling behind with rent and bills because they have nowhere to pay them.


DOOMED: Closure of the post office in Hawthorne Road, Bootle, will hit the community, say locals Picture: COLIN LANE; WORRIED: Roxannah Ali
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Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jan 7, 2005
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