For years and years, we have been seeing a gradual reduction in the number of them around the country – often with considerable, if unseen, effects on social networks in the villages and suburbs that the sub post offices so often served.
People have, indeed, become so used to this phenomenon that there is a considerable amount of cynicism around – and a general belief that the people at Post Office headquarters are engaged in strategic withdrawal in much the same way as the Environment Agency once imagined that it should manage withdrawal from the coastline. Mercifully, the Environment Agency has now changed its view on this, and is aiming to keep coastal communities intact. And, at much the same time, the new management of the Post Office has actually, splendidly decided that it can and should seek to preserve the rural network. Indeed, there are plans for expansion of the services offered in many places.
In the part of my West Dorset constituency that this magazine touches, there are two recent examples of this phenomenon. In both Bradford Abbas and Yetminster, sub post offices were closed – and there was a great deal of suspicion that this heralded an acceptance of permanent closure by Post Office headquarters. But the cynics have been proved wrong. Both Bradford Abbas and Yetminster post offices are on the way back – and the same has occurred further south at Martinstown.
This isn’t to say that all is for the best in the best of all worlds. There are still threats to the viability of some rural post offices – and the price of post offices is eternal vigilance.
But there definitely has been a shift of gear on the part of Post Office headquarters – and we should very warmly welcome that in our rural area.
Blackmore Vale Magazine