How an Ossett Post Office campaign put rumours of closure to bed
The reaction of one Yorkshire town to rumours about its Post Office closure speaks volumes about their value in smaller communities.
In 2017, residents of Ossett feared its branch was due to shut, and Coun Lynn Masterman started a campaign.
A petition gained nearly 1,000 signatures online alone.
Fellow councillor Angela Taylor says that she arranged to speak with its former manager as soon as she heard about the threat, and was assured that a suitable person was being sought to take it over.
But the community’s reaction pointed to how important the service was to residents who have suffered the loss of three banks in recent years.
Coun Lynn Masterman, who represents Ossett and Gawthorpe, said: “The franchise was being put out to tender so it could’ve gone anywhere.
“Where it’s situated is ideal for the disabled and elderly, who go there for their payments because it’s flat. They can walk there.”
She was also concerned about the loss of specific services such as those for passports, and did not want to see staff lose their jobs.
Coun Masterman added: “It combats loneliness, in a way. They meet up with friends who they might not have seen since the previous week. It’s a little bit of a community hub.
“It’s familiarity. They like the people there, they don’t want to be travelling to the cities or neighbouring towns. It’s the community spirit that’s in there.”
Coun Taylor added: “We do need the Post Office to stay where it is and I shall make sure I’m on top of it all the time.”
Debbie Squires kept petitions in her business, Squires Family Deli.
She said: “The outcome was successful and all my customers are very grateful it stayed open. It keeps Ossett busy.
“If that had of gone along with the banks, it would have been quieter.”