Terry puts his stamp on Post Office fight

PUBLISHED: 14:27 17 June 2008 | UPDATED: 21:55 15 June 2010

A SUB-POSTMASTER fighting to save a community facility in Axminster from the axe has led one of the best campaigns in Devon according to a representative from the post office.

A SUB-POSTMASTER fighting to save a community facility in Axminster from the axe has led one of the best campaigns in Devon - according to a representative from the post office.Sarah Olney, external relations manager of the South West for Post Office Limited, the company responsible for putting Millwey Rise Post Office on a hit list for closures, praised Terry Fisher for his work and "eloquence" during a public meeting last week.But she pointed out the post office was listed with 2,500 others across the country, because it met with the criteria laid down by the government and would only be spared if strong support and proof of viability was shown on paper.She said: "If we step outside of the criteria, the government does not allow us to close a place. This post office does fall between the criteria."But she added that such decisions had been overturned in 16.6 per cent of cases."The point is you need to put concerns across very strongly and use Postwatch."However, it was highlighted that for every post office saved, another would be closed.Strong support for the post office was shown with over 60 people attending the meeting and over 1,500 have taken forms from Mr Fisher, calling for the post office to remain open, with 400 returning them to Millwey Spar.Sub-postmaster Terry Fisher called on residents to give their reasons for wanting the post office to stay, but warned against exaggeration."We have got a good story to tell. We don't have to tell lies," he said. "We need to prove they have been erroneous in their decision and they have got their facts wrong."I have been here for 14 years and, in that time, I have had support from East Devon District Council to make the shop what it is. We are open 55 hours a week - just the counter, and 90 if you include the ATM. "Sales have gone up 10 per cent - and 40 per cent if you include the ATM. "So how can they actually want to get rid of that? "I don't know what to say sometimes. I have done my best."Among other reasons listed to keep the post office open, he said staff were friendly, helpful and personal; there was ease of access and parking, including for disabled people; a place where people could send numerous and heavy parcels easily and generally less travel involved.Many passionately voiced their support for the post office throughout the meeting, saying it was "the hub of the community". Town councillor John Jeffries said: "Terry has dragged this post office from nothing into what it has become today. If only the government put as much time and commitment in as Terry does, we would not be in this mess."Postwatch South and West Network Advisor Richard Brown said: "I want to reassure you that these six weeks are meaningful. But, at the same time, there is a reality check - we do not have power of veto over the post office."People have until the end of the month to raise concerns before a decision is reached on the future of the Millwey Rise store.Meanwhile, villagers at Offwell will today (Wednesday) march in protest to Honiton Post Office to raise awareness about another closure threat.

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