Wales

Fears over future of post offices in Wales after closures

Blaenavon post office
Image caption Blaenavon post office is to close in November

Post offices are closing at a rate of more than one a month in Wales, despite claims branch numbers are "at their most stable for years".

At least 12 branches have shut since January and another two could close before the end of the year.

The Post Office said those branches had closed temporarily while new owners or alternative premises were sought.

But one union said communities were worried they could be lost forever.

Blaenavon post office will close next month with the postmaster claiming he is resigning because he now makes less than minimum wage.

Markham post office near Blackwood has already shut, while Rhandirmwyn post office near Llandovery closed in April meaning residents face a 14-mile round trip to services in Llandovery.

'Modernisation'

Image caption The Post Office says the number of its temporary closures in Wales is small

While there are plans to reopen in other premises like shops in many of the 12 areas affected, the Post Office said nothing has been confirmed.

Mark Baker, from the Communication Workers Union, said: "The post office has had £1.34bn to modernise its infrastructure and marketing, but I don't see a sustained network of branches.

"We need a strategy for the future to sustain branches and the only thing that's going to make a difference is a "people's bank" - an old-style savings bank that people can use like they did years ago, which makes the smaller branches viable.

"All the post offices in the world have a similar model and it would not be cost prohibitive."

A Post Office spokesman said Wales had seen a 21% increase in available service hours since the start of its transformation programme in spring 2012.

"With a traditional full-time post office typically operating 41 hours a week, then the additional hours available is the equivalent to having an extra 201 new full-time post offices open in Wales," a spokesman said.

"The Post Office network in Wales is at its most stable for decades," the spokesman added.

Closed or closing Post offices

  • Blaenavon, Torfaen
  • Llanfaelog, Anglesey
  • Cenarth, Carmarthenshire
  • Trefeglwys, Powys
  • Scurlage, Swansea
  • Cilmaengwyn, Neath Port Talbot
  • Five Roads, Carmarthenshire
  • Markham, Caerphilly
  • Mynydd Isa , Flintshire
  • Marloes, Pembrokeshire
  • Rhandirmwyn, Carmarthenshire
  • Llangynog, Powys
  • Crossgates, Powys
  • Ynyswen, Powys

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