Petition launched against plan to close and franchise Diss Post Office

Diss Post Office
Diss Post Office

A petition against the closure of the Diss Crown Post Office branch has been launched this week, with the founder claiming the level of service provided by a ‘retail partner’ will not match what is there now.

The future of post office services in the town is uncertain following last week’s announcement of the Post Office’s franchising proposals, which would see the branch in Market Place shut, after a partnership is formed with a local retailer to offer those same services elsewhere in Diss.

The South Norfolk Liberal Democrats are now seeking signatures for its petition, stating the branch was an “important service to our community” that they felt should stay open.

Tracy Scoggins, the Lib Dem candidate for Diss and Roydon in the upcoming county council elections, said: “Their justification that our branch ‘will not be sustainable into the future’ does not hold much weight.

“The branch has a thriving customer base which can only increase given the recent approval of a further 136 houses in Diss.

“The staff at Diss Post Office are well trained and experienced in the complex and varied services that they provide.”

She highlighted a personal experience from a couple of years ago, when her mother, who suffers from dementia, was having her pension stolen by somebody who was using a duplicate card, until a local Post Office employee noticed an irregularity, froze her account and contacted the police.

“This woman was very knowledgeable and had built a relationship with my mother, sufficient to quickly realise that something was wrong and acted accordingly,” she added.

“For all of the reasons above, I will remain opposed to this proposal and would welcome The Post Office confirming when and how they plan to conduct their six week public consultation on the matter.”

The Lib Dem group also plans to collect signatures in Diss tomorrow morning, and intends to ultimately present them to the Post Office and the South Norfolk Council Scrutiny Committee.

This movement comes after concerns about the franchising plans were expressed by Diss residents, town councillors and South Norfolk MP Richard Bacon, who branded them as “foolish”.

Mr Bacon said last week he felt the Post Office’s usual franchise partners were unsuitable for Diss, stating: “The big supermarkets are certainly not interested in hosting a post office as they need their floorspace themselves.

“In other parts of the country, the partner nearly always ends up being WH Smith, but it is hard to think of less suitable premises for a post office than the WH Smith branch in Diss, which is tiny.”

When contacted by the Diss Express this week, both WH Smith and Morrisons declined to pass comment at this time.

If you wish to view the South Norfolk Lib Dems’ petition, go to www.southnorfolklibdems.org.uk/diss-post-office