Cloud hangs over future of Hawkinge Post Office

Contributed by editor on Nov 12, 2004 - 10:47 PM


Hawkinge Post Office boss Baz Basra is asking villagers to help support the local office in the Community Centre or he may be forced to close in the new year.

Mr Basra told the Gazette: “Every week since we have opened we have seen a fall in people receiving benefits and switching to the banks.

“These customers are vital to the future success of the post office because it provides a regular stream of income.

“The new Tesco Express store has a cash machine which means people do not have to come into the Post Office,� said Mr. Basra.

The Postmaster claims that funding promised by “certain councillorsâ€? had not been forthcoming and he has put together the whole project himself. This includes the initial setting up of the business and further expenditure including  £9,000 to licence the premises, and £2,600 a year for business rates.

Hawkinge Parish Council Chairman Dave Callahan said: “Small Post Offices are closing all over the country and it is up to the villagers to keep their office viable. If they don’t use it, they will lose it.

“I will be pushing for the completion of the cycle track and footpath through the Village Hall car park to make access to the Post Office easier�.

Mr Basra is planning to meet Cllrs Callahan, Heasman and Smith, together with Jan Doyle and Deirdre Ferguson from the Hawkinge Partnership in the new year in an effort to thrash out a solution.

“I don’t think people realise how vital the Post Office is to any community until its gone and luckily for Hawkinge they haven’t had to suffer any loss yet. Who knows what the situation might be like this time next year� Mr Basra concluded.