Bradwell-on-Sea says no to post office

Villagers have voted that they are not prepared to pay £30 a year more council tax to keep their post office open.

The post office in Bradwell-on-Sea in Essex needs £19,500 a year to keep it running once a county council grant is withdrawn in April.

One hundred and three households voted against, with 77 voting for the post office to remain open.

Brian Main of the community shop committee had said, either way, he was happy to run what the village wanted.

The post office, within the shop, currently brings in just £2,000 a year.

The committee had offered to pay half of the £19,500 to keep it, with residents asked to pay the remainder via council tax.

'Not logical'

Local resident Bob Cook, who used to run the post office, said he believed the shop could still offer most of the post office services.

"It doesn't need to ask taxpayers for penny, there doesn't seem to be any logical reason why they want to keep it to keep it a handful of services nobody uses.

"Why should my neighbours be compelled to pay en masse £10,000 to just two hang words above the door.

"The only things that would go are foreign currency, fishing licences and postal orders.

"There is no evidence of queues of old ladies waiting for their pension on a Thursday, as perhaps there used to be."

Mr Main added: "We want to run what ever the village wishes to have, but we felt we couldn't close it on our authority, so we consulted the parish council.

"Whether we can keep up 95% of the services, as has been said, that is doubtful."

County councillor John Jowers said £1.5m in grants were released for post offices in 2007 when several in Essex faced closure.

The intention was always that it was "tapering help" over the course of three years, which was later extended, he added.

The parish council, which organised the ballot at the community shop's request, said it is likely to discuss the result at its meeting on 19 November.