Pontefract post office 'vital to the community' is closed and post box fenced in

A post box in Pontefract has been fenced in by the owners of the adjacent post office and can not be accessed.

The Hardwick Road Post Office of Maple Drive was closed for two months last year but reopened in May 2020.

It closed again on October 1, 2021 and a letter went out to residents saying that the closure was temporary due to “unforeseen circumstances.”

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Pontefract South councillor Tony Hames said: “It’s hardly a temporary closure with a fence around it.”

Hardwick Road Post Office, Pontefract

Fellow councillor George Ayre said: “The post office and post box are on private land so we have been told it is quite lawful. The council has no jurisdiction with regard to Royal Mail but we have written submissions and expressed our concerns. We are awaiting the outcome of the enquiry.”

Coun Ayre said that many of his constituents had been in touch saying that the post office at Hardwick Road was a vital service for the community and should have either been retained or alternative provision made in the local area.

Ofcom rules requires that 98 per cent of all households across the UK should be within half a mile of a post box on a straight line basis.

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Coun Ayre says that the closure of the box on Hardwick Road meant that now wasn’t the case for many local residents who had further to walk.

The three post offices nearest to Hardwick Lane are Pontefract Post Office at Market Place which is almost a mile away; Love Lane Post Office at just over a mile away and Willow Park Post Office on Baghill Lane which is one-and-a half miles away.

There are, however, three post boxes within half-a-mile walk of Hardwick Lane: Carleton Park Road, Carleton Road and Larkshill. Carleton Bridge is 0.7 miles away.

“Before closing the post office and blocking up the post box Royal Mail should have contacted the council and applied for planning permission to move the box to another location rather than allowing it to be blocked in behind a fence,” Coun Ayre said.

Pontefract and Castleford MP Yvette Cooper said, “Losing the post office is a real nightmare for the local community as for many residents it isn’t easy to get into town.

"We badly need a post office back. I’ve urged the Post Office and Royal Mail to work together to find us an alternative and I’ve also contacted the minister.

" I’m worried that it just isn’t attractive enough for local people to become postmasters now and the government urgently needs to look at this or we will lose services permanently.

"I’m also urging Arriva to improve the bus services to make it easier for residents to travel to access a post office service in Pontefract.”

A Royal Mail spokesperson said: “This post box is no longer in use.

“Customers can use other post boxes in the area or drop their mail off at any Post Office branch.”