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Action demanded over continuing closure of Downham Market Post Office

Post Office (3168683)
Post Office (3168683)

Residents and politicians in Downham are demanding urgent action to resolve the continuing closure of its Post Office.

The town centre premises shut suddenly last month and some residents say they have been forced to hire taxis, and potentially even cross the county boundary, to access services.

Post Office officials insist they are committed to re-opening the branch, though they are still refusing to say why it shut in the first place, or when it might re-open.

It is now almost seven weeks since the branch in High Street closed, with customers being advised to use branches in the neighbouring villages of Denver and Wimbotsham instead.

But town resident Tom Copeman said he had to pay for a taxi to travel to Denver and access the services he needs, at a cost of around £10 per trip.

He called for a mobile service to be brought into the town as a temporary measure and claimed that even staff who worked at the branch before it shut do not know what is happening.

He said: "It's ridiculous. If you see one of the girls who worked there, all they say is 'We know as much as you do.'"

Debbie White said she was aware of neighbours discussing the need to take similar action to Mr Copeman.

She said: "They're saying a lot of pensioners are having to get taxis to get to Denver or Wimbotsham to get their pensions. They're all angry about it."

She added that she had travelled to Swaffham to resolve an issue with her driving licence, while crossing the Suffolk border to Mildenhall was offered as another alternative.

She said the company should "get their fingers out" and resolve the crisis.

And town MP Elizabeth Truss said the "considerable inconvenience" being caused to residents by the continuing closure was not acceptable.

She said: "It is not realistic to expect customers, many with mobility issues, to travel to neighbouring villages.

"I have been pressing the Post Office for urgent action and have called on the managing director to look at alternate provision, perhaps a mobile Post Office bus."

She added that she was waiting to hear what measures the company were prepared to put in place.

The Lynn News asked the Post Office if it could explain why the branch shut and whether it could say when it might re-open.

The company did not answer directly, but said in a statement: “We understand and appreciate how much communities rely on our services and we apologise for any inconvenience caused by the temporary closure of Downham Market Post Office.

"We would like to reassure customers that the decision to suspend services at any of our branches is never taken lightly, and we will only do so when it is warranted.

"We are committed to providing a Post Office in Downham Market and we are looking to see how we can restore services as soon as possible.

"In the meantime, alternative branches are Denver and Wimbotsham."

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