Published: 09:20, 17 April 2019
| Updated: 09:21, 17 April 2019
Elderly residents living in built-up areas of Canterbury are having to travel miles just to reach a post office.
Blean, Rough Common and Harbledown are all without a postal service - leaving thousands of people in the northern outskirts of the city with a “worrying” lack of available branches.
Residents unable to drive are having to hail taxis or get on a bus as they try to complete what should be the simple task of nipping down to the post office.
Village retailers interested in becoming postmasters are being urged to come forward in a bid to restore services in the area. But as it stands, the nearest alternatives - either at Hales Place off St Stephen’s Hill or in the city - are at least two miles away.
Post Office spokesman Sheila Tapster said: “Blean and Rough Common post offices are currently temporarily closed since early February due to the resignation of the postmaster who was operating both branches.
“Merchants Way post office in Harbledown also closed on March 4 due to the resignation of the postmaster. We apologise for any inconvenience caused by these closures.
“We understand how important a post office is to a community and we would like to reassure customers that we are working hard to restore services.
“We are already working with one retailer in the area who is planning to open a brand new branch this summer in the area north of Canterbury.”
Rough Common village hall did act as a temporary post office throughout last year but has since stopped operating.
Conservative ward councillor for the area Amy Baker says the depleted services are a big worry.
“It’s a sad situation,” she said.
“The Post Office needs to be held to account and help shopkeepers who want to help their communities. It’s much harder for traders to run a post office now, and sadly that makes it really difficult for the elderly to use the service.
“They need to get taxis to St Stephen’s Hill or go to WHSmith in Canterbury - it’s frustrating all round.”
Any retailer or small business owner interested in running the post office and incorporating it into their business should email NTquestions@postoffice.co.uk.
More by this authorJoe Wright