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Parties unite in fight to save postal services in Witney
PRIME Minister and Witney MP David Cameron joined Labour councillors to hand over a petition against the loss of Post Office services in the town.
The company wants to shut down the main Market Square post office and move its services to another shop in the town centre.
Labour councillor Duncan Enright handed the 2,194-strong petition to the Post Office’s communications director, Mark Davies, on Friday. The Witney office is one of 70 directly-run Crown post offices across the country that the company is considering closing in a bid to end losses of £40m a year.
Mr Cameron said: “I think it’s very important there’s no loss of services for people in Witney.”
Asked again if he wanted the post office to remain in the same building, he said: “No loss of services in the town centre is something everyone can be happy with.”
Mr Davies said: “We’re committed to ensuring first-class services remain in high streets. We’re going to be working to find a partner to keep the services in Witney. The post office will not close in Witney until we have got another partner.
“I can absolutely guarantee services will remain and it will be in the town centre – we’re not going to take it into the back end of the town.”
Asked if the services will move from the current building, he said: “If we find the right partner. If we do not, then no.”
He said there was the “potential” that opening hours could be increased if the post office moved to new premises and said there would be no loss of staff.
He added: “For every pound that comes in, it costs us £1.40 or £1.50 to run the site, so there’s an economic difficulty there.”
Labour town and district councillor Duncan Enright, who organised the petition, said: “We want to see no reduction, and in fact an improvement, in post office services in the town centre.
“We’re really pleased that David Cameron came along to make people understand everyone in the town is behind this. It’s not just a Labour campaign, it’s everyone in Witney.”
He added: “We’re not hung up on the building, we’re hung up on the fact we want the same level of services and the same level of accessibility for people.”
Conservative councillor Richard Langridge, who is West Oxfordshire District Council’s cabinet member for local economy, communities and culture, said: “I’m here to support the public’s views that we must not see any reduction in post office service in Witney.
“We must maintain a central Witney location that is accessible to all, not necessarily this same building, but it must be in the centre of Witney.”
Witney’s other post office is in Burwell Drive and does not offer services such as passport checking and driver and vehicle licensing.
Any move from the current premises would be subject to a six-week public consultation.
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