Supplementary memorandum from Consignia plc
RURAL TRANSFER ADVISORS: PREVENTION OF POST OFFICE CLOSURES
Rural Transfer Advisors were actively involved in the following instances where Post Office branches, which were either closed or at risk of closure, were reopened or kept open:
Mathern (Chepstow): The office has been closed for about 18 months and the RTA has been working with the local community to find a solution. The proposal now is to open a post office, shop and Internet cafe in the village hall. The local community have been proactive in raising funds and the Post Office Ltd has been working with Virsa (Village Retail Services Association) and other interested bodies. The scheme has been granted £13,000 from the DTI capital start up fund and is set to re-open in a couple of months. This is very much a community scheme that will be run by volunteers.
Abergwesyn (Llanwrtyd Wells, Powys): A very rural and small operation that had closed in October 2001. The RTA was very proactive in seeking a solution and recently a volunteer has come forward who is willing to run the post office on a restricted hours basis from her house. A small level of DTI funding has been provided to make the necessary alterations to the kitchen to enable the service to be operated.
Peterston Super Ely (Cardiff): The office closed about a year ago and the previous subpostmaster was unwilling to allow the former post office premises to be used to provide a service. Due to the lack of premises it proved difficult to restore the service, despite the publicity that was generated by the closure. It was not possible to find an alternative solution until recently, when the previous office was sold. Plans are now in place to re-open the office in July with a new subpostmaster.
Aberedw (Builth Wells, Powys): The service to this village was threatened when the subpostmaster resigned with plans to convert the post office back into residential accommodation. The RTA worked locally to find a solution and the post office service is now provided from the local pub with the landlady acting as subpostmistress.
Llanmadoc (Swansea): Closed in June 2001. Reopened November 2001. The post office was located in a private house in the village, but after the intervention of the RTA, the office has now relocated to the local shop.
Scurlage (Gower, Swansea): Closed when the subpostmaster retired. The office closed in June 2001 but reopened in the autumn. The problem was getting a new subpostmaster, as the owner of the shop did not wish to take on the post office side of the business but was willing to have the post office in his shop.
Cumgors (Ammanford): The original subpostmaster was suspended and advertisements went out for a replacement. In the meantime the office was kept open using temporary subpostmasters. The office did have to shut for two weeks, but finally a replacement was found and the office reopened in the local Spar shop.
Blaenplwyf (Aberystwyth, Ceredigion): The subpostmaster of this office gave notice to retire, but after a community discussion group was set up, agreed to delay retirement until a replacement could be found. This took 6 months. The RTA and other interested parties worked closely with the group and finally a replacement was found and in February this year, the office finally changed hands.