Pictured today – the last shift for the Sorting Office in Axbridge

In an interview with Radio Somerset this morning the Axbridge Chamber of Commerce’s secretary Harry Mottram conveyed the feelings of the town’s business community about Royal Mail’s closure of the sorting office.

He said: “The Sorting Office has been run very successfully for 150 years and there is no reason to close it other than Royal Mail’s rationalisation policies. We are particularly concerned as it means the viability of the Post Office is now in doubt – and that would be a massive blow to the town if the Post Office closed as a result.”

The Royal Mail are shifting the office to Winscombe because they say it no longer fits the purpose, the type of mail has changed with more parcels and health and safety reasons.

The Chamber of Commerce dispute these reasons as they understand it is simply a chance to save money after the lease from the Post Office next door ran out. Despite a campaign to save the office with petitions and letters of support Royal Mail gave three months notice of the move – which ran out today.

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.”

To join the Chamber costs only £10 a year – for more information visit http://www.harrymottram.co.uk/axbridge/axbridge-chamber-of-commerce/