URGENT SUPPORT: New Ferry Post Office at risk
New Ferry Post Office, Image: LDRS
The owner of New Ferry’s Post Office said he plans to close it unless he gets urgent support, even though residents are “furious” about the idea.
Vishal Jain, who runs the Post Office on New Chester Road in New Ferry, Wirral, said falling revenues mean he cannot afford to keep it open.
He said his problems go back to the New Ferry explosion in March 2017, when Pascal Blasio’s deliberate blowing-up of his own furniture store injured 81 people, destroyed six businesses and made 86 people homeless.
The blast has had an impact on the town which is still felt today.
Speaking to the LDRS, Mr Jain said: “After the explosion, things are getting worse every year.”
The only way Mr Jain thought he could maintain a Post Office in the town was by moving to a smaller premises, but this would cost him a lot of money, which he said he did not have.
He added: “I don’t think the Post Office is looking to spend a lot of money [on keeping a store in the town], and i’ve looked at getting some funding from the council to keep a Post Office here.
“The Post Office said if I need to move I will have to spend £30,000. If I don’t get support to move I will withdraw my application [to continue with the Post Office] and leave in March.”
A number of other problems have affected Mr Jain’s Post Office.
They include changes in the amount he receives for services such as handling letters and parcels, as well as the move towards providing services such as passport renewals online.
He also has to pay a proportion of maintenance costs on the building he rents, which means he has to contribute 12% towards neighbouring Royal Mail’s £120,000 new roof, a huge sum for his small business.
Mr Jain acknowledged that people in New Ferry were unhappy about the risk of the Post Office closing.
Asked what impact it might have on the town, Mr Jain said: “I’m really not sure. But everyone is furious, especially older people and pensioners. There are no shops and nothing else here.”
A Post Office spokesperson said: “We have been very sorry to hear of the issues that have impacted Mr Jain and his ability to keep operating New Ferry Post Office.
“We know how much the local community rely on Post Office services and we are actively working with Mr Jain to try and find a solution.
“This has included looking at alternative premises to keep the branch open. Some issues, such as the cost of rent for the New Ferry premises or costs to fix parts of the building are completely out of our control.”
The spokesperson added: “We recognise that the Covid-19 pandemic has impacted Postmasters which is why we provided remuneration support last year.
“In addition, in July this year we set up a Travel Support Scheme for eligible Postmasters who have lost out on foreign exchange transactions as a result of the continuing uncertainty around international travel to make up for their loss of remuneration.”
A Wirral Council spokesperson said: “As part of our commitment to the New Ferry community, we will look to see if there is any practical support or advice we can provide in this instance.”
Words: George Morgan, Local Democracy Reporter
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