‘Bolt from the blue’ as mail depot in Dales set to close after 70 years

Coun John Blackie
Coun John Blackie
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Another Dales institution was under threat last night as Royal Mail confirmed plans to permanently close a depot in the heart of the National Park.

The sorting office at Hawes has been staffed by local workers for the past 70 years, and villagers said they were “dismayed” by what they claimed was a lack of consultation over its future.

The village post office will remain open, but some customers will face a 17-mile, half-hour drive to Leyburn to collect certain parcels, according to campaigners.

John Blackie, a county and district councillor and executive chairman of the Upper Dales Community Partnership, which runs the post office, said: “There is bound to be a deterioration in customer service.”

He said the news had been “a bolt from the blue”, and further threatened an area already reeling from cuts to public services.

Coun Blackie said: “It’s an abysmal way to be treated by a private organization that delivers a highly visible public service. The loss of jobs once the current incumbents move on is a real blow to a deeply rural community.”

Royal Mail confirmed that it had proposed “relocating” its delivery operation in Hawes to Leyburn, and that it would separately close its depot at Holbeck in Leeds and move it to an existing city centre site. The organisation said there would be “no impact” on services to customers.