Operations at Merthyr Road will be stopped ‘temporarily’ from Tuesday evening after the office’s current postmistress decided to step down, leaving many residents deeply concerned over the future of the service.
Post Office bosses confirmed the news, before insisting alternative options were being considered, and stressing that they ‘remain committed’ to providing a local service, and were seeking a ‘sustainable’ solution.
Richard Lewis of Llanfoist, said any possible closure would mean losing a vital part of the village. “I think it is extremely bad. Since we fought to get the new Post Office open, there has been at least 1,000 new houses built in Llanfoist. This will affect the community adversely — especially the elderly community — who will be forced to use the Abergavenny office.
“It won’t be long before Llanfoist becomes a mere suburb of Abergavenny.”
The Llanfoist office, which is run from the back of the church hall at Merthyr Road, was subject to a £40,000 renovation almost nine years ago, a project Mr Lewis was heavily involved in.
Llanfoist residents are particularly concerned over the effect any disruption would have on the elderly community. Barbara McIntee said, “It’s horrendous. A lot of people, including the elderly, rely on the local Post Office. A lot of local people run businesses from home, too.
“If it closes, for many people, it means a bus ride, or car journey into Abergavenny, meaning parking fees and all that. It’s the hub of the community and village. I think to lose it would be horrendous for Llanfoist.”
Another local man, Haydn Gear, said the potential loss would hurt the village and further dilute Llanfoist’s character following recent housing and commercial developments built nearby.
“Llanfoist Post Office isn’t used just to buy the occasional second-class stamp but deals with all manner of business and financial transactions and it is rare to find it without a customer for more than a minute or so,” said Mr Gear.
“The plain and obvious fact is that the level of inconvenience will be extensive and will cause those who regularly use it considerable difficulties, especially senior citizens who would find travelling to the main Post Office in Abergavenny an onerous task. The queues there are often quite long which would cause further discomfort.
“The Post Office may well try to justify the closure of the Llanfoist Office on so called reasons of efficiency. I would call it deficiency — deficient and totally removed from the needs of a greatly expanded population in Llanfoist.”
Mr Gear said the service was ‘needed more now than ever’, given that the local population has increased considerably in the last few years with the addition of a 1,000-home development.
“Perhaps I’m missing something, but I fail to see anything in the planned closure to demonstrate anything that could be called ‘logical’. Hard-nosed, mean-minded, inconsiderate, and anti-social most certainly but not logical in any way whatsoever.
“Many will recall that a hard-fought battle took place some years ago and it was with great relief that our Post Office remained.
“But, like marauding hyenas, the officials are at it again and since that time the need for it has increased along with many more residents.”
Post Office bosses insisted they would look at ‘all options’ and reiterated their commitment to keeping services local. A spokesman said a few options were being considered, including maintaining the current service or opening a new branch in a local shop, by the group’s ‘field team’.
“Following the resignation of the Postmaster, Llanfoist Post Office will temporarily close at 5:30pm on May 23.
“We know how important Post Office services are to people in Llanfoist and we apologise to customers for any inconvenience caused,” he said.
“Any customers wishing to access Post Office services may do so from any convenient Post Office branch, including Abergavenny Post Office.
“We would like to assure customers that we are currently investigating the options available which will enable us to reinstate a Post Office service to the local community.
“In exploring this, it is important that any future service is sustainable for the person operating the service, and for the Post Office.”