Sir – No visitor to Witney can fail to notice the air of purpose and bustle lacking in some other towns in our county, let alone in less prosperous parts of the country.

No edge-of-town shopping centre, and in consequence hardly an empty shop in the high street. Free parking throughout the district helps, of course. This is a tribute to the residents of Witney, the traders, the council and our MP.

But Witney’s present success also owes a huge amount to the institutions developed over generations, and we fritter away this inheritance.

Not only do we not build anything that will last (in 500 years’ time Witney’s medieval church, St Mary’s, will be visited over anything we are building now), we are destroying the institutions, created by optimistic Victorians who provided the framework in which we prosper.

Often we do this with the laudable ambition to save a shilling, but we do not always properly count the social value of what we are destroying.

Witney’s post office stands four-square on the High Street: it counts for something, it matters. Fiddle with it, and risk unseating our sense of order.

WH Smith is a decent company that seems to have perfected the enviable trick of boosting profits by relentlessly cutting costs and offering giant chocolate bars with every purchase. No doubt it can sell stamps efficiently enough, but WH Smith is not the Post Office.

We need to live within our means, and all avenues are worth exploring, but, to prosper, we also need to retain our pride.

Closing Witney post office to sell stamps with discounted chocolate is a false step.

Richard Martin, Filkins