MP for South Norfolk Richard Bacon said the Post Office must recognise its branch in Diss is “at the heart of the local community”, as he prepares to discuss its future with a government minister.
A public meeting has been set for May 11 at the Diss Youth and Community Centre, where Mr Bacon will shed light on his meeting with the Post Office Minister, Margot James, about a franchising proposal that has left the future of the Diss Crown Post Office uncertain.
The Diss branch is one of 37 nationally to have been listed in proposals to franchise out post office services to local retail partners, which may ultimately result in those Post Office buildings closing down.
A spokesperson for the Post Office confirmed this week it had been exploring interest from a number of potential franchise partners, but there were not yet any detailed plans.
They stated: “The current branch is not sustainable into the future, so we need to look at ways to ensure the same services continue to be provided to our customers.
“Franchising is a proven and successful model that works — the majority of Post Offices are operated on franchise or agency basis.”
But Mr Bacon said: “The Post Office views this as a ‘relocation’ rather than a ‘closure’, but I am sure that the staff behind the counter, who face redundancy, will disagree.”
“The Post Office must understand that Diss Crown Post Office is one of the busiest anywhere and is at the heart of the local community.
“In such ‘relocation’ exercises, WH Smith sometimes takes up the franchise, but that is unrealistic in Diss where the Smiths branch is tiny and unsuitable for disabled access.”
The franchising proposals have also been criticised by residents in the Diss area, and two separate petitions have been launched in opposition to them.