Long Lawford Post Office will close next month - despite battle to save it

Campaigners Gerry White, Marian Wakelin, Bill Smith & Pete McLaren
Campaigners Gerry White, Marian Wakelin, Bill Smith & Pete McLaren

A village post office will close next month, despite campaigners battling to save it.

The Heart of England Co-operative Society, which runs Long Lawford Post Office from within its food store on Townsend Lane, has confirmed it will close the service on February 25.

The Society is planning to refurbish and expand its store, offering more choice for customers and increasing the number of full time employees.

Its Post Offices in Long Itchington and Bulkington will also close on February 25.

Pete McLaren, spokesperson for Rugby’s Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) has been campaigning to keep the ‘vital’ Long Lawford Post Office open.

Mr McLaren and supporters have been collecting signatures for a petition and recently handed it to the Co-op.

He said: “The Co-op should be providing services for the community in line with its founding principles rather than worrying about making profits. “The Co-op is developing its store in Long Lawford, and it surely can not need a substantial investment, as they claim, to incorporate a new post office facility within the expanded store.

“A number of people in the village have no transport of their own and are not on the internet. Some also do not have bank accounts. The Post Office is their lifeline for so many services. That is why we will continue with this campaign for as long as it takes.

“Ideally, we would like the Co-op to respond positively to public opinion and change its mind. If that doesn’t happen, then we will be expecting the Post Office to find alternative premises in the village.”

A Heart of England Co-operative spokesperson said: “The Heart of England Co-operative Society has taken the decision to close its post offices in Bulkington, Long Lawford and Long Itchington on February 25 2016.

“Public notices have been displayed in all sites.

“It is a decision which has not been taken lightly and has been taken in light of a recent move by Post Offices Ltd to call for a conversion of existing facilities in convenience stores as part of their modernisation programme which would require substantial investment. 

“Over the years strategic changes within Post Offices Ltd have led to reduced over-the-counter and transactional based services. As a consequence, the Post Office has seen a significant reduction in footfall and income and in recent years has become financially unviable. Staff members were advised by the Society on November 23 following which a period of consultation commenced with employees comprising a mix of full and part-time employees to possibly relocate them elsewhere in the Society.”