Staff told by text message that Helmsley shop was closing

Pensioners are having to take a two-hour round bus trip to get their money from a post office after the sudden closure of Helmsley’s Costcutter.
Locals outside the Costcutter shop in HelmsleyLocals outside the Costcutter shop in Helmsley
Locals outside the Costcutter shop in Helmsley

Staff were told by text message on Sunday that the shop which offered post office services would not be opening the following day.

County councillor George Jabbour said staff had been left high and dry “facing significant financial risks at an incredibly difficult time” while elderly residents had been left without money as they couldn’t collect their pensions.

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Some had to go to Kirkbymoorside to pick them up - a two-hour round trip by bus, while businesses had been unable to make cash desposits.

He said: “Having had discussions with a number of stakeholders, there is a way forward to restore the essential Post Office services back to Helmsley immediately.

"This requires the Post Office to act proactively, to appoint a postmaster, to make use of the existing facilities and resources that are available locally, and to communicate with the staff.”

Hull-based Westgates Restructuring said the shop had been loss-making.

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The owner had been taking professional advice and had held “extensive discussions” with Costcutter but there had been nothing forthcoming in assisting in keeping the shop open, it said.

Suppliers had stopped sending groceries in and stock levels were low. The owner was currently discussing restructuring options, the firm added.

Thirsk and Malton MP, Kevin Hollinrake said: “It would be completely unacceptable for a thriving market town like Helmsley to be left without a Post Office.

"Post Office managers must find a replacement service as soon as possible and find a way to provide continued services until the new service is in place.”

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Town council vice chair Tony Porter said he was appalled by the treatment of staff and the public and as a businessman in Helmsley he appreciated the town’s high footfall, adding: “It is beyond me why this shop had to close.”

A Post Office spokesperson said: “Hemsley Post Office has unfortunately closed with no notice, as the shop, where the branch was based, has shut. We know how important a Post Office is to the community and we are working hard to restore service to the area as soon as possible after the unplanned closure.

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