Buersil resident leads fight to take Post Office closure to court

August 18, 2008 12:00 AM

Plan of action: Buersil Post master Jay Patel, resident Carol Hoye and Rochdale MP Paul Rowen go through their plans to try and save their local Post OfficeA Buersil resident who often has to walk to the Post Office with the aid of an oxygen bottle is leading the fight to save the Office from closure, after it was revealed by Rochdale Online last week that Buersil had been confirmed as one of the six branches to close in Rochdale.

Carol Hoye says she will launch Judicial Review proceedings if Postwatch boss Judith Donavon refuses to review the decision. She is working alongside Postmaster Jay Patel and Paul Rowen MP and claims she will take the campaign to the highest levels.

She said: "I am willing to go to the highest court in the land to protect these services. I struggle to get to Buersil Post Office as it is and I know that there are many people who are less fortunate. I think it is a shame that I have to go to these lengths to protect services that should remain open - I will take them on all the way."

Buersil Postmaster Jay Patel said: "There is a lot of anger in our community at this closure and Carol is typical of the type of customer who will be adversely affected. I often have to deliver groceries personally to her house and deliver her pension, that's the type of service that we provide that will be ripped away by this Labour Government. She struggles to the Post Office at times and just like dozens of local residents is shell shocked at this illogical decision. I will look forward to our day in court and thank Carol for being willing to lead our case."

Paul Rowen MP has written to Judith Donavon, the Postwatch boss, officially calling for a review into the decision. Mr Rowen has listed a number of reasons why he believes the consultation team made the wrong decision, including the lack of availability of local alternatives, access to public transport, and the offer made by Rochdale Council to pay the subsidy that would have normally been paid to the Post Office to retain these Post Offices.

If this review fails then campaigners are expected to contact solicitors and instigate Judicial Review proceedings to try and overturn the controversial decision, part of the Government plans to axe 2,500 nationwide. Paul Rowen MP and campaigners claim that the consultation was 'flawed' and that some replies were 'not even considered'. They also claim that Post Office Ltd cannot guarantee the future of a nearby alternatives at Kirkholt, which is set to be demolished as part of regeneration plans, and Lower Place, which is still closed and faces an uncertain future.

Paul Rowen MP said: "I am backing Carol and Jay's fight and will be helping them to overturn this crazy decision. We said at the start of this campaign that we will fight tooth and nail and that is exactly what we are doing. The details of the decision are vague, lack accuracy and are presumptuous to say the least.

"It speaks of new developments, details of which we are still waiting for. It speaks about parking spaces - whoever made this decision has probably never been to Lower Place. Post Office Ltd cannot guarantee the future of the very Post Offices they claim will be alternatives. For example, Lower Place Post Office is shut for the foreseeable future. I am angry about this decision that will affect so many and any court in the land will see their flawed conclusions. We are confident that we will win."

Rochdale Council is now entering negotiations with Post Office Ltd, aimed at paying the Government subsidy and saving the other Post Offices.