Post Office vows to reopen branch as soon as possible
THE future of the post office in Westbury-on-Trym is uncertain after it closed for a second time in two weeks.
by Keri Beckingham
As reported in August's Henleaze & Westbury Voice, on Monday July 23 the post office closed “due to unforeseen circumstances”, before it reopened on Thursday July 26 with a new temporary postmaster and manager.
However, it shut again on August 10 and was still closed as the Voice went to print. A notice appeared on the door of the post office on Tuesday August 14, stating: “The’re [sic] closing us down!!! We need your help!!!” with the contact details for a representative of the Post Office called “Gary Adderley”.
Although the reason for the first closure of the Post Office was initially a mystery, Henleaze & Westbury Voice has since learned that the former postmaster, Manie Singh Ghuman, was arrested at the Post Office during the morning of Monday 9 July and has subsequently been suspended.
A spokesman for Avon and Somerset police said: “We attended an address at High St, Westbury-on-Trym on July 9 to carry out a pre-planned arrest. A man in his 50s was arrested on suspicion of breach of a non-molestation order and subsequently released without charge.”
A Post Office spokeswoman confirmed that the postmaster had been suspended since July 23.
In light of the latest developments, Zoe got in touch with Henleaze & Westbury Voice to explain the situation.
She said: “I’ve worked at the post office for six months, and following the emergency closure in July, a new temporary postmaster called Vikram was appointed on the basis that I would be the manager.
“However, on Thursday August 9 another emergency meeting was held at the Post Office with people from head office."
Zoe said she and Vikram had been told they would have to work full time hours, six days a week, on a day to day temporary basis. Vikram decided to resign and she is considering her options while seeking permanent employment.
“I understand that discussions are ongoing with the Post Office in terms of finding another temporary postmaster and a temporary team of staff in order to reinstate the service.
“I’m extremely angry at the situation, but it is completely out of my control. I think it’s important for local residents to know the truth about what is going on, and hope that head office can find a solution to reopen the post office on a permanent basis as soon as possible.”
Westbury-on-Trym Councillor Geoff Gollop added: “I have asked to meet with Post Office managers and have stressed how important the post office is to our community. So far they have chosen not to respond to that offer. It is vital this situation is resolved quickly before further harm is done to the local business and the community.”
The MP for Bristol North West, Darren Jones has also written to the Post Office seeking an update following the closure of the Westbury branch.
|The Post Office spokeswoman said: “We understand and appreciate how much communities rely on our services and we sincerely apologise for any inconvenience caused by the temporary closure of Westbury-on-Trym Market Post Office. We would like to reassure customers that the decision to suspend services at any of our branches is never taken lightly, and we will only do it when it is appropriate to do so.
“The branch was initially closed from 23 July until 26 July, when a temporary postmaster was appointed. The temporary postmaster subsequently resigned and the branch has again been temporarily closed since Friday 10 August. We are committed to providing a Post Office in Westbury-on-Trym and we are looking to see how we can restore Post Office services to the area as soon as possible. In the meantime, alternative branches are Greystoke, Henleaze and Druid Hill.”