Councillors accuse Post Office of betraying Birkenshaw

editorial image

Frustrated councillors have accused the Post Office of betraying Birkenshaw after they confirmed that a branch which closed more than a year ago will not re-open.

The Bradford Road office shut in June 2013 after an alleged dispute between the subpostmaster and his landlords.

Users were left with the nearest offices in Tong Street and Drighlington - more than a mile away.

Councillors for Birstall and Birkenshaw Robert Light, Andrew Palfreeman and Liz Smaje have since pressed for a new site and have met Post Office representatives.

They have now received a letter confirming the branch will stay shut.

Coun Light said: “Post Office Limited has confirmed what we always suspected. They never intended to re-open a post office in Birkenshaw and have used the unexpected closure as an excuse to take away a much needed facility in the village.

“Although they say that they will explore any opportunities in the future, they have also made it clear that any possible Post Office in Birkenshaw will not affect the viability of the remaining local branches.

“You do not need to read between the lines to see that Post Office Limited is betraying Birkenshaw.”

But the Post Office said that since the closure it had been working hard to find a new permanent location.

A representative said: “Unfortunately since the closure, we have been unable to identify a suitable solution. As there have been no suitable opportunities to restore a service, this branch will remain a vacancy.

“We apologise to customers for any inconvenience caused and thank them for their understanding.”

But Coun Palfreeman(Con) said the Co-op, which he thought had killed-off much of the village’s other trade since opening, had rejected a proposal to take on the service.

He said he saw it as a way for the company to give something back to the community.

A Co-op representative said: “We consider the possible provision of Post Office services in our stores to ensure they meet essential criteria.”

This included whether a service would fit the store’s lay-out and would benefit business and customers

“Our store would have gone through the same thorough procedures before any decision was made,”they added.