The Death of Another Post Office

I think every village and town in Cornwall who has a Post Office is, or has been worried about the future of this facility and service. Porthleven went through the same anguish a few years ago when the former postmaster decided to call it a day and leave. Luckily the shop and Post Office found new owners who, I have to say, have worked very hard to achieve a success. They even managed to secure a fee-free cashpoint to use out of Post Office hours.

Sadly, not all Post Offices have followed with the same success. News came to me tonight via e-mail that the Post Office in the Helford will not continue due to the new owners not wishing to continue running a Post Office counter. I have been informed that this Post Office will close around the 14th March 2011. This will be a massive blow to that area, as a Post Office is an important part of the fabric of local life, especially if it is one of the few shops in that area.

Past Governments have not helped the viability of running a Post Office by removing elements that were mainstays of this service. The way we now complete financial functions and the huge changes to how Pensions are collected have also hastened the death of the much loved Post Office.

For small communities like Helford losing something as important as a Post Office, pub or small shop has an even greater impact on day to day life. It weakens other (if any left) facilities, this in turn can change a small settlements very existence and pushes people more and more into the arms of the supermarkets.

We can all do our little bit to save the small shop by using them. If everyone spent a few pounds each week in them, then we just might save a few more before they become nothing more than memories.

It is a very sad day for the Helford, but I feel many other Post Offices will meet the same fate unless we do something about it, and start to use them again.

6 comments

  • Anonymous

    Perhaps if you weren't so keen on issuing planing permission to more and bigger supermarkets and weren't so keen on pushing up car parking charges in towns rather than making limited (say 2 hours) parking free, then these local community assets would thrive rather than die.

    You need to reliase that each time you increase parking charges in town/village centres like Porthleven and Helston people will choose to shop where they dont have to pay – i.e. supermarkets.

    You cant have it both ways.

  • Cllr Andrew Wallis

    To @anon

    Any permission for a supermarket or house has to be made on Planning reasons within the guidelines, not if I like them or not. These rules may in fact be wrong, but until central Govt changes, or gives Council the power to change, then we have to follow those rules.

    As Chairman of the Parking Advisory Panel I am only too aware of Parking Charges, and have fought hard to keep them as low as possible. I have found that people would still not pay for parking if it was 10p. They would only be happy if it was free.

    That is all well and good, but there is a flip side to making it free. That is money raised by means of car park charging would have to be found from elsewhere, or services cut. That is the cold hard facts.

    The point of the post was to highlight the dangers Post Offices face. As alway, happy to discuss this, or any other issue in person. My contact details are on the CC website, or this blog.

  • Anonymous

    Andrew we all know that when an out of town superstore arrives the local traders suffer and go out of business – this has been shown time and time again across the country.

    Of course making parking free looses revenue, but then dont you loose revenue when a commercial entity ceases trading.

    Life is about compromises and you need to look at the big picture and decide what is worth saving. If you are going to post about the death of a post office a few posts after one about increasing parking fees then you must accept that theses fees are quite likely to a large extent to blame.

  • Anonymous

    What have car park charges got do with the closure of a post office in Helford? Nothing,now if you talked about the number of second homes,govt removing services from post offices etc then yep youve a case but car parking do us a favour…

  • Amanda

    It would help if some (not all) of these people that take over our local shops or post offices actually had an interest in our local areas and people. The same happened in Godolphin. It was run by a lovely family for years and years, they moved out and sold up due to their age. What happened…a new lot came in, changed the hours and made it more difficult for locals to do their business within the village itself, they lost money and then decided to close the whole thing and turn it into properties. Well thanks a bunch! More and more people are looking for properties to now develop, regardless of what is currently there.
    I don't think parking charges makes much difference. I'm happy to pay 50p for an hours parking as its cheaper than getting a ticket in the street! Or you could just annoy all car parking payment dodgers and pedestrianise the town itself!

  • Anonymous

    I run a Sub postoffice and just wanted to point out that owners are not able to change the hours – this is dictated to us by Post Office Ltd and they set the Post Office hours and remuneration based on how much business the Post Office is doing. All too often people in a small village complain about the Post Office hours, yet it is basically down to these same people as to whether the Post Office can be viable or not. Post Office payments and hours are worked out using a formula that take into account the sales that have gone through that Post Office. In order for small village Post Offices to survive (and make it worthwhile for the owners) the villagers MUST support it regularly. Unfortunately, it is always the same people who support local shops and Post Offices. Too many villagers just don't bother to regularly support the local services. And these are usually the people that complain the loudest when that service goes.

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