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Scandal: 150 years of sorting the post will come to an end in Axbridge this month

Members of the Axbridge Chamber of Commerce, the town’s Postmaster Richard Helps and postal workers in the town have been left stunned with the news that the Royal Mail’s sorting office will close on Saturday 21st August 2021.

Despite assurances from Royal Mail that the closure was being reviewed and hints it may stay open until the New Year the news has been released with just days to go. The office will be transferred to Winscombe as part of a cost cutting exercise and bring an end to postal sorting in the town after 150 years.

Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce and Postmaster Richard Helps said it was real blow to the town’s economy as it now put at risk the future of the Post Office itself. He said: “We fought to keep the sorting office open with letters from the Chamber, a petition of nearly 2,000 signatures, pressure from the town council and the local MP James Heappey as well as Tessa Munt for the Liberal Democrats and the residents and traders but to no avail. Royal Mail have not listened.”

Secretary for the Chamber of Commerce Harry Mottram said: “This is terrible. It is a short term cost cutting exercise that leaves the town poorer. We’ve seen shops close, businesses shut up shop and the Crown Inn close with footfall down due to Covid restrictions so this is a real blow. We must all support the Post Office and hope it can remain viable – don’t forget they sell gifts, confectionary, cards and a huge range of stationery and items for school students such as pens and paper.”

Earlier the Chamber orchestrated a campaign to save the Sorting Office with letters to Her Majesty the Queen, the local media and press as well as Royal Mail. The Liberal Democrat town councillor Ben Ferguson and the former Lib Dem MP Tessa Munt organised an online petition as well as the written one in the Post Office which gathered more than 1,500 signatures reflecting the public desire to retain the office and the jobs it created.

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