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Chief minister asked to intervene over Ballasalla Post Office

Malew Commissioners want Quayle to review retail strategy

Malew Commissioners have called on the chief minister to intervene over the future of Ballasalla's post office.

The local authority wants Howard Quayle to suspend the post office board's retail strategy, and review how it's being implemented across the Island. 

Chairman Nigel Bazley hopes this will halt plans to put a kiosk in Ballasalla, once the contract to run the village sub-post office expires in March.

The majority of Tynwald members supported the strategy, which seeks to make the loss-making retail network financially sustainable, but critics have called the approach 'managed decline'. 

Mr Bazley says the impact of sub-post office closures on local communities hasn't been 'thought through', and is causing the elderly and vulnerable 'considerable stress'.

Malew Commissioners have sent a letter to Mr Quayle, outlining their concerns:

Letter sent today to Chief Minister re Post Office

Posted by Malew Parish Commissioners on Monday, February 3, 2020

It comes after public meetings Ballasalla, where residents told post office bosses they're angry over a lack of consultation, and afraid about losing the service.

Concerns were centred around the collection of benefits, how easy it would be to use the kiosk, and parcel delivery.

Plans have now been altered to include a 'service partner', a person to assist those using the machine.

Chair Julie Edge described the 'enhanced offer', which now includes parcel collections, but not benefit collections, as a compromise.

Mr Bazley says it 'changes nothing', and counter services should remain whilst national politicians review the implementation of the post office's retail strategy.

He explained to Local Democracy Reporter Ewan Gawne why it was time for Mr Quayle's intervention:

The post office chair was again involved in feisty exchanges during the House of Keys this morning, with MHKs Tim Baker and Lawrie Hooper in particular, about the place of the post offices in the community.

The issue centred on the seven figure deficit the post office is currently labouring under, as Julie Edge explained to to John Moss after the sitting:

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