A petition has been delivered to the Hindhead office of Chancellor and MP Jeremy Hunt, asking for his immediate help in preventing the closure of Haslemere post office and requesting its relocation to a suitable alternative spot on the High Street.
More than 400 signatures were collected in less than 24 hours after the ‘Save Haslemere Post Office’ petition was launched – while a similar petition, by Yvonne Perro on the 38 Degrees website, has also attracted more than 400 signatures this week.
Mr Hunt’s mailbox is also brimming with letters from constituents concerned by the latest threat to the town’s West Street post office.
In one, Anil Sharma wrote: “Access to cash and banking for locals and local shops will likely be transferred to the Weyhill post office, 1.1 miles away. For some of your more elderly and less able constituents, it might as well be in Timbaktu.”
In another, Sheila Bradley wrote: “There has been no bank in Haslemere now for a couple of years. I am 80 this year, I will never bank online. We have no family support. We do not do any apps on phones of any kind. While the post office exists, we can get cash from the cash machine and pay cheques in through the post office counter.
“Everyone I have spoken to agrees with me that we NEED a post office in the centre of town.”
MP Jeremy Hunt says he is working behind the scenes to secure a replacement cash machine after the likely-permanent closure of the town’s West Street post office at 5.30pm yesterday (Wednesday).
Speaking after one of two petitions of more than 400 signatures was handed in to his Hindhead constituency office this week, Mr Hunt said: “It is a great shame that despite our efforts to save the post office in the town centre last time round, things have not worked out and the facility is again set to close.
“I have written to Waitrose to ask if they would consider offering a post office in their Haslemere store but unfortunately, their executive director, James Bailey, has confirmed this is not something they will be taking up.
“Better news from John Howells, CEO at LINK Scheme. He confirmed work is under way to try to ensure a replacement ATM can be installed to serve local residents in Haslemere alongside progress on the opening of a banking hub for the town.
“I hope we can come up with an alternative town centre site soon for this and, of course, will be doing all I can to try to support a new post office.”
Haslemere Town Council has confirmed a banking hub will open in the town by the end of this year – but it is currently unknown where or when, and the hub will not offer traditional post office services.
Many businesses across Haslemere, as well as members of the public, have signed the petition to ‘Save Haslemere Post Office’ online at https://www.ipetitions.com/petition/save-haslemere-post-office
Another petition, ‘SAVE Haslemere town post office’ can be signed online at https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/save-haslemere-town-post-office
The Post Office took the decision to close the West Street branch after its operator resigned. A spokesman added a “sustainable opportunity to restore post office services” had not yet materialised.
Alternative branches include Lion Green, which is a mile away, and Camelsdale Road, which is 1.6 miles away.