Closure looms but no new post office yet

Sleaford's town centre post office - due to close next Wednesday. EMN-200402-103242001
Sleaford's town centre post office - due to close next Wednesday. EMN-200402-103242001

With the closure of Sleaford’s town centre post office looming, bosses are being criticised for not acting swiftly enough to ensure a continued service.

With the resignation of the current postmaster, the lease on the premises of the current Sleaford Post Office, at 72 Southgate, expires at the end of February 12, and so far management have admitted customers in the short term will have to journey out of town for their postal services.

A Post Office spokesperson insisted they are committed to providing a permanent replacement: “We sincerely apologise for any inconvenience this temporary closure may cause.”

The nearest alternative is in a corner of the Co-op foodstore on Lincoln Road, while Ruskington Post Office is also suggested, although neither can provide the passport check-and-send service.

The spokesman explained management are looking at a temporary solution from an existing mobile Post Office service which can visit Sleaford town centre on a Saturday from 9am to 12.30pm. “We are currently working with the local authority to find a suitable location for the mobile vehicle,” she said.

She added they were working hard to reopen a full-time Post Office as soon as possible: “We have to do due diligence to ensure we get a suitable person with suitable premises to operate Sleaford Post Office.

“We have an interested retailer and their application is progressing well. However, we will not have a permanent solution ready in time.”

She said they are looking to reopen the branch in an empty shop in central Sleaford this spring.

Town and district councillor and Deputy Mayor of Sleaford, Anthony Brand is disappointed and deeply concerned and said: “The need to move to a new location has been known about for many months and the impression created is that insufficient effort has been put into finding a replacement location. This facility is an essential resource providing a wide range of services.

“While there is a need for due diligence the impression in the minds of Sleafordians is that there has been a tardy response to finding a solution. Only now, we are informed that an attempt to find a temporary site is being sourced and that a mobile solution might be available one day a week. Both risible in relation to the significant impact the closure will have on the daily lives of many.”

In readiness for the expected influx of extra customers to the Lincoln Road post office, Co-op bosses are planning to increase staffing levels for the interim period to cope with the extra demand.

Some residents are concerned about the effect on elderly and disabled customers needing to travel further reach a post office, while businesses regularly need its services for parcels and other documents.

On our Facebook site, Helen Pask commented: “It’ OKk for most people as their pension is paid into the bank, but some do rely on the post office to get their pension. That is a huge worry to elderly people.

“Also businesses use the post office every day to send their invoices out.

“Not a good situation to be in. A town as big as Sleaford needs a main post office in the centre of town. It just goes to show that this is a dying town with thousands of new houses being built and no facilities. Doctors are few and far between and surgeries overflowing with patients. This used to be a lovely market town, but now hardly any market and people wonder why we all shop in other towns and cities.”

Alana Simpson commented: “A privatised service now fraying at the edges.”