Shock closure of Post Office as collection arrangements change

By Mal Butler Mar 29, 2024
Totland Post Office

Totland Bay Post Office is to close for good at the end of April, a decision which has left the local community ‘saddened, shocked and angry’.

It was claimed the Post Office was losing £7,000 a year and Totland Parish Council, after consultation with local residents, agreed to this funding in its precept which has risen 60 per cent, partly as a consequence of the decision.

However, parish councillors were then told there had been a ‘recalculation’ and, in fact, it is losing £15,000, which the council cannot afford to fund.
Since 2011, Community Action IW has run the four not-for-profit Post Offices, through its trading arm, Island Community Ventures – Totland, Brading, Godshill and Wootton. A spokesman confirmed: “We have made the difficult decision to shut Totland outreach post office service from April 30.

“The decision comes following notification received from Royal Mail last week that it will stop collecting post and parcels from Totland Post Office on April 1. This will mean a significant increase in running costs to a service that already needs to be subsidised by Totland Parish Council and Community Action IW, to cover the time and cost of taking post/parcels on a daily basis to the core post office branch in Godshill.

“Whilst technically Royal Mail, within its contract with Post Office Ltd, is within its rights not to collect from an ‘outreach’ service, the fact that it does pick up from a post box almost opposite the post office, makes their decision very frustrating from the local community’s point of view.” Chief Executive of Community Action Isle of Wight, Mike Bulpitt, said. He added: “With the support of Totland Parish Council, we’ve delivered this outreach service for a number of years since the previous sub-postmaster retired, and it is frustrating that we cannot continue, especially as it is a well-used service. Unfortunately, even when well used, it doesn’t make it economically viable and the additional operating costs incurred as a result of the change by Royal Mail, means that we will have to close.”

Chris Jarman, IW Councillor for Totland & Colwell, said: “The community is saddened, shocked and angry, especially after they were behind us when we made the decision to put in £7,000 this coming year. But when we were then told it was £15,000 it was obvious the post office was going to close. Even if we came up with the money, next year it could be £20,000. We haven’t even been given the rundown of figures to show the losses.

“This will have a big impact, with our ageing residents in the area. It was a place they could do their bits and pieces and have a chat, but there is nothing realistic we can do to keep it.”

Island Community Ventures will continue to run both Godshill Post Office, and the weekly outreach services in Wootton and Brading, with the support of the local parish councils.

A Post Office spokesman confirmed that the closure was due to the way that the mail was being collected and apologised for any inconvenience caused.
Post Office services are available in Yarmouth, and at Tesco Superstore, Freshwater.