Rt Hon Lord Lilley

    Peter Lilley, MP for Hitchin and Harpenden, has welcomed the Post Office decision not to close the sub-post office in Whitwell but expressed disappointment that they are going ahead with closure of four other post offices in the constituency.

    He said: “We fought a good campaign and put forward some powerful arguments in favour of the retention of Whitwell post office. I am delighted that the Post Office has recognised the importance of the branch to the village and the surrounding community. I am sure everyone who uses it will be celebrating today.

    “At the same time, I am very disappointed that four other branches in my constituency are to be closed. The arguments for saving the branches at 107 Station Road, Harpenden and St Ippolyts were very similar to those used successfully with regard to Whitwell, but Post Office management has ignored them. It is hard to see why. All I know is that customers who use these branches, as well as those at Hexton and Blakes Corner in Hitchin, will be extremely upset and dejected at the loss of these much needed services.

    “I appreciate that the Post Office has been told by the government to close up to 2500 branches, but I really do wonder if sufficient attention has been paid to the impact such closures have – especially on the elderly, the least well off and anyone without easy access to transport. The Post Office should recognise that it much more than a commercial operation and that it lies at the social heart of many villages and districts.”