Furious Post Office customers have been left baffled over the festive season after the Staveley branch has been closed since mid-November with no prospect of re-opening in the near future.
The shock closure at the branch in Market Square means the nearest other branch is a distance away at Inkersall and is becoming swamped with frustrated customers creating difficulties as the Christmas rush has been taking a hold.
Customer Leslie Jones, 79, of Inkersall, said: “I saw an elderly lady who is my friend struggling to get to the Staveley Post Office in the cold and when she got to the door she had to turn around and it was heartbreaking and abhorrent.
“She’s one of many without transport who are dependent upon this town post office especially at Christmas and the nearest other branch is Inkersall which is only small and is now becoming swamped with big queues.
“The Post Office has not explained exactly what’s happened and no one seems sure if and when it will be re-opened.”
Post Office Ltd has indicated there have been operational problems concerning the organisation that has been running the Post Office in Staveley and it is no longer able to do so, and Post Office Ltd hopes the closure will be temporary and the branch will eventually re-open.
But this has raised further concerns about the wisdom in Post Office Ltd’s money-saving plans to move Chesterfield Post Office and Baslow Post Office’s Crown branches into and under private, retail shops that are at the mercy of economic pressures and closures.
A Post Office Ltd spokesman said: “Staveley Post Office is not directly managed by Post Office Ltd and for operational reasons the branch closed temporarily on 21 November 2013.
“We would like to assure customers in the area that we are currently investigating the options available which will enable us to reinstate a Post Office service to the local community. In exploring this, it is important that any future service is sustainable for the person operating the service, and for Post Office Limited.
“Future provision will reflect customer numbers and usage and we may take the opportunity to establish an alternative type of service. This may be a new style branch known as a Post Office local. Post Office locals run alongside an established local shop and create a more modern and convenient retail experience for customers in newly refurbished premises.”
Post Office Ltd would not confirm or deny if the Staveley Post Office was run by a independent retailer but residents believe that Londis had been the primary operator at the branch.