‘Why does it have to be ours, why Stockwood?’ - residents fuming over plans to close the local Post Office

The Post Office is expected to close after Christmas
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The news that the only Post Office in Stockwood is closing has been the talking point in BS14 all week.

The branch is located within the McColl’s store on Hollway Road but it’s one of the five Bristol McColl’s shops being closed by owners Morrisons. Morrisons is closing 132 unprofitable stores nationwide, putting 1,300 jobs at risk.

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Staff at the Stockwood shop still haven’t been told exactly when it will close but it is expected to be in the New Year.

Although there’s a cash machine outside the shop and one in the nearby Co-Op, the Post Office is where the majority of elderly local residents draw out their money. It’s also where people drop off and collect parcels.

“I think it’s terrible,” Frank told me, as he headed into the Post Office to get his stamps. “We’ve lived here 50 years and it used to be good, with butchers, greengrocers and bakers, but Stockwood has always been deprived in a lot of ways and this is another blow.”

Shane Harris was just leaving the shop and had only just heard the news. He said: “It’s going to be a nightmare for everybody. It’s all well and good saying people can go to the Post Office in Knowle or Hengrove but how are they going to get there without a car? And the buses are rubbish - that’s if they even turn up in the first place.”

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Dave Norley has lived in Stockwood 47 years. He said: “It’s a big blow for such a big area. For anybody without transport, you can’t get to Hengrove Post Office by bus or Keynsham. I don’t know why, but Stockwood is always forgotten.”

Care worker Alison Lewis visits the Post Office on behalf of her elderly clientsCare worker Alison Lewis visits the Post Office on behalf of her elderly clients
Care worker Alison Lewis visits the Post Office on behalf of her elderly clients

Care worker Alison Lewis lives in Whitchurch but works in Stockwood, where there are five residential care homes for the elderly. She said: “It’s very convenient because I use it for my little old ladies to get their money. Stockwood is a tight-knit community and there are always people in the Post Office chatting and meeting.”

People like Julie Brake, 63, who has lived in Stockwood all her life. She said: “It’s a disgrace, just look at the size of Stockwood. I use the Post Office when I have to return parcels and I don’t drive. If I wanted to go to the Post Office at Broadwalk, it’ll cost me £5 to take back a parcel that’s free.”

Diane Bryant has lived in Stockwood since the 1960s and can remember the shops and church being built. Before that it was fields. She said: “All the elderly people draw their money out here because we don’t have a bank in the area anymore.

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“A lot of people I know use the Post Office all the time. We all need the Post Office, it’s dreadful news. I live on the bottom estate and come up all the time to shop and meet people. Why does it have to be ours, why Stockwood? There’s no consideration for us.”

The Post Office at Stockwood is due to close in the New YearThe Post Office at Stockwood is due to close in the New Year
The Post Office at Stockwood is due to close in the New Year

Graham Morris, Conservative Councillor of Stockwood Ward, said: “There is now a very real threat that Stockwood would lose its Post Office. For an area which has a large, elderly population, it is essential that we retain such facilities; to both provide a vibrancy and dynamism as we look to rebuild our high streets following the pandemic and to ensure residents have a means of communicating.”

Last week, Morrisons revealed it was to close McColls stores in five locations in the Bristol region. Aside from Stockwood, they include Stapleton, Bedminster and Cribbs Causeway. The company identified them as ‘loss-making for some time’.

As for the Post Office inside the Stockwood store, a Post Office spokesperson said: “Morrisons have confirmed that they will keep Stockwood Post Office open throughout the Christmas period and that it will close in the New Year.

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“We will undertake an assessment of the local area and will be working closely with nearby postmasters to support them with the likely increase in footfall for both their Post Office and their own retail services and will review requirements for the local community.

“There are three nearby alternative Post Offices that customers can use in the New Year, Knowle and Knowle Park, with Knowle Park open 6am to 10pm Monday to Saturday and 7am to 10pm on Sundays. Loxton Square is a bit closer to Stockwood and is open 9am to 3pm Monday to Friday.”

The closure of McColls in Stockwood adds more uncertainty for the future of the shopping precinct. A car park round the back of the shops, used by visitors for decades, was sold at auction last month, and people are now concerned what the new owner’s plans are.

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