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Minister in talks over Summertown post office campaign
A CAMPAIGN to reinstate a post office in Summertown has won the backing of equalities minister Jo Swinson.
The MP held a meeting with local councillors and campaigners at the Liberal Democrat party conference in Glasgow at the weekend.
Campaigners have tried for years to get back a post office since the branch in the former Martin’s newsagents in South Parade closed in 2008.
County and city councillor Jean Fooks said people had tried to convince a shop in the area to open a post office without success, but that Ms Swinson’s advice and her place as a minister in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills could help.
Ms Fooks said: “Jo has explained that it’s much easier to open a post office than before as a separate till and security support was not needed.
“It’s less of an investment, so the hope is that with this information, a shop may want to take it on.
She said the Post Office was reluctant to see the reinstatement of an office, saying it could take away business from others in the area. But she said this would not be the case.
Southdale Road resident and Summertown Neighbourhood Forum member Shirley McCready said: “When we did our survey for the neighbourhood forum, one of the top comments was about the lack of a post office. “We had three and now we don’t have any.”
One of the problems, she said, was that the Post Office considered their pleas as a request for a new service, not as a replacement for one that had closed.
She added: “It’s certainly one of the problems, but the other one is that they can’t find anyone to take it on. I think Jean has spoken to everyone and no one wants to do it.”
Ms Swinson said: “I was happy to take time and discuss the concerns of councillor Jean Fooks during conference.” She said she would be forwarding information about the steps a retailer in Summertown could take to open a post office.
Post Office spokesman Kathryn Hollingsworth said: “When considering adding a new service to the Post Office network we need to make ensure there is sufficient footfall to sustain a service.
“We will continue to review Post Office service requirements in Oxford.”
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