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Battle to save the Hullbridge post office
ANGRY villlagers are set to loose their post office despite a fight to keep it open.
Hullbridge post office was taken over by Budgens convenience store in Ferry Road, a year ago after the original office in One Stop closed.
Now Budgens says it will close the post office which many villagers rely on October 17. It will leave the village without a post office.
A Post Office spokesman said the situation is temporary, but villagers have been given no clear information on when it will be replaced.
Pensioner Kathy Morgan, 74, said it was an essential service.
She added: “It is going to be a big blow. Hullbridge has been fighting for a long time to retain a postage service. We are all feeling aggrieved and outraged that having moved here only a year ago, it is in danger of being lost again.”
Mum-of-three Zoe Moore, 43, of Crouch Avenue, relies on the post office to send items on internet auction site eBay.
She said: “I don’t have a car and I can’t get on the bus with children and a buggy. There are a lot of mums in the same boat. We need it.”
The villagers are getting a petition together to fight the closure.
Hullbridge councillor Michael Hoy said: “People are concerned. My real problem is the post office not seeming to make much of an effort to find a replacement.”
Andy Patel, co-owner of Budgens, said he couldn’t afford to keep the service open and manning the post office counter meant customer service was suffering.
He said: “We thought it would increase the trade and bring more people in. We looked at the situation and it has had the opposite effect. We have had 150 to 200 customers less a week.
“We have to man the post office the hours the shop is open. I can’t get away from that. At the beginning we had a lot of people just leaving baskets of shopping and walking out because of the queues.
“I recognise people want to keep the post office, but it is not viable. I am sorry we have had to do this. We do really regret it, but it just doesn’t seem to work there at all.”
A spokesman for the Post Office said: “We can confirm that Hullbridge Post Office is due to temporarily close on October 17 due to the resignation of the subpostmaster and the withdrawal of the premises for Post Office use.
“We would like to apologise for any inconvenience this may cause and would like to reassure customers we are committed to maintaining Post Office services to people in Hullbridge and are working hard to find a suitable new location for the branch.”