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Post office closures: KCC scraps plan for legal challenge

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THE fight to stop 56 post offices being closed in Kent has suffered a major setback after Kent County Council ruled out legal action in the courts.

The county council says while it seriously considered taking the Post Office to court to challenge the way it consulted about the closure programme, it would only have delayed the process.

At the time the closures were announced in December, Kent County Council threatened a judicial review, saying it believed postal bosses had not looked at all the evidence and had given too little time for people to give their views. Just two of the 58 earmarked for closure were reprieved.

In a statement, KCC said: “We have looked into whether there are grounds to legally challenge the methods used by the Post Office in its decision through seeking a judicial review. We have taken this very seriously, and have sought Counsel’s advice in this respect.

Through these discussions, it has become very clear that mounting a judicial review cannot achieve the outcome that both KCC and the communities most desire - it cannot permanently stop the closure process.”

The statement added: “The best outcome that this [legal action] could achieve would be a repeat of the consultation process, but this could take 12 months and we understand that a successful Judicial Review would not be able to force Post Office Ltd to re-open the branches.”

KCC said it remained “totally committed” to helping the communities most affected through closures and would discuss “practical options” on how to help communities in the New Year.

The closures are part of cost-cutting measures aimed at spiralling losses the Post Office says it must take steps to reduce.

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