MP welcomes Post Office commitment to restore service to Pulborough
Arundel & South Downs MP Nick Herbert has welcomed confirmation that the Post Office remains committed to finding a new site for a branch in Pulborough.
A representative of the Post Office clarified the organisation’s position following discussions with the MP at Pulborough Village Hall on Friday (30 October).
There had been confusion after at least one Pulborough resident received a letter from the Post Office saying that the Pulborough branch was “permanently closed”.
However, in a letter to the MP, Post Office Ltd clarified: “I would like to apologise for the incorrect information that was provided by the Post Office Customer Care team with regards to the status of Pulborough Post Office. I can confirm that the branch has been temporarily closed since 3rd August 2015 and since this time we have been seeking to restore a Post Office service to the local area. I can confirm that the branch is not permanently closed and I am sorry if this incorrect information has caused any concern.”
Mr Herbert called the meeting with the Post Office to discuss the ongoing situation that has once again left Pulborough without a Post Office counter. There have been several attempts to provide a service in the village without success.
A sub Post Office branch was most recently located in Gatley’s Pet Supplies Stores on Lower Street but closed eighteen months later following the postmaster’s resignation in August. Since then the Post Office team has been working to find a suitable new site, and confirm that they remain committed to providing a permanent branch in the village.
Mr Herbert emphasised the view of local residents that a Post Office is needed in the village, especially after the closure of two bank branches. There are now concerns that no solution has been found so close to the busy Christmas period.
Elderly residents in particular rely on local post office and banking services. The nearest Post Office branches are Storrington and West Chiltington, and for those without their own transport these locations are difficult to reach.
In his meeting, the MP asked the Post Office to work with the Pulborough Community Partnership and Parish Council to find a solution.
The Community Partnership has been liaising with local businesses and has explored alternative options, including hosting an Outreach service. However, the Post Office has stated that they hope to find a location for a permanent full-time counter rather than a part-time Outreach counter.
The Post Office say that hosting a counter in a retail unit can complement an existing business with increased footfall. It has approached suitable retailers on Lower Street to host a full time service, and this process is continuing.
Laura Tarling, Public Affairs Manager for the Post Office said: "Post Office Ltd are committed to restoring a Post Office service in Pulborough. If you would like to find out more about this opportunity please contact Caroline Hoare on 07730 735 058 for further information. Applicants can also register their interest on the Post Office website http://corporate.postoffice.co.uk/business-opportunities > latest business opportunities > enter the reference SPM014599”.
Nick Herbert said: “Pulborough needs a Post Office, even more so after the closure of the village's two bank branches, so I was pleased that the Post Office confirmed to me that they remain committed to restoring a service in Pulborough.
"I appreciate that there have been ongoing difficulties in identifying suitable premises, but I emphasised that we need this sorted out as soon as possible.
“I know that the Parish Council and Community Partnership are working hard for a solution, and I will continue to do what I can to support their efforts."
1. The letter from the Post Office Ltd to Nick Herbert, referred to in this article, can be found at http://www.nickherbert.com/data/files/150928_PO_to_NH_re_clarification_of_closure_-_redacted.pdf.