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P.O. battle by CLIFF MOGG

ANGRY customers are battling to save Aldershot's Queen's Road sub-post office from closure.

ANGRY customers are battling to save Aldershot's Queen's Road sub-post office from closure.

Almost 500 of them have signed a petition calling on Post Office bosses to scrap the shutdown plan.

The signatures have been collected by two Rushmoor councillors - former Mayor Charles Choudhary and Francis Williams.

Coun Choudhary said last Friday: "This sub-post office serves nearly 2000 people, and I'm extremely annoyed that the Post Office plans to close it.

"Everyone I've spoken to shares my view that it should stay open. It provides an essential service to the community."

He said it was ridiculous for the Post Office to say that the customers could use the town's main post office half-a-mile away at The Galleries.

"They haven't taken into account that many of the people are mothers with young children and pensioners, some of them disabled," Coun. Choudhary continued.

"It's going to cause them tremendous problems because, to get back from the town centre, they face a long climb up the hill."

He and Coun Williams, who acted with the full backing of the council, sent off the petition last week-end.

The chances of the campaign succeeding, however, looked slim this week because the proposed closure is linked to a major switch in the payment of pensions and benefits.

From the beginning of April this money will be paid into bank accounts rather than over the counter.

Mr. Patel, Queen's Road sub-postmaster, said: "The post office side of the business won't be profitable once these changes come in.

"I'll be leaving as soon as the Post Office gives me the green light."

A second Aldershot sub-post office, in St Michael's Road, is also earmarked for closure.

But Gus Taylor, husband of the sub-postmistress, said last Friday that there was hardly any opposition to the idea.

"Customers haven't been using it in great numbers, so it's a bit late for them to complain now," he said.

The proposed closures, part of a countrywide cost cutting programme by the Post Office, are due to take effect in March.


THE Liberal Democrats are running their own campaign to save the St Michael's Road, Aldershot, post office. Although the "consultation period" officially expired on January 20 County Councillor Adrian Collett has asked the Post Office to agree to its petition being posted on February 3. He argues that five weeks, including the holiday period, is not long enough.

George Paparesti,an ex-councillor who used to represent Manor ward, says that the closure will hit the elderly, young mothers and the disabled. Above: Lib Dems Adrian Collett, Jeff Smith and George Paparesti discuss their strategy to save the post office.


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