Page last updated at 15:55 GMT, Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Hundreds attend protest meetings

Post box
The central Wales region currently has 166 Post Office branches

More than 350 people opposing plans to close sub-post offices have attended two separate public meetings in Powys aimed at keeping them open.

About 150 people protested outside a branch in Garth Owen, Newtown, and another 200 attended a public meeting in nearby Abermule.

Thirteen post offices in mid Wales are earmarked for possible closure as part of Post Office's UK-wide review.

It says the closures are needed to make the network viable.

Newtown councillor Robert Mills organised the protest in Garth Owen on Saturday.

He said up to 150 people, many elderly and some disabled, braved the cold weather to make their feelings known.

Garth Owen post office is the hub of the south ward
Newtown councillor Robert Mills

"Garth Owen post office is the hub of the south ward, and many people who use it are elderly or disabled," said Mr Mills.

"They refuse to go to the main post office in the town centre because there are always long queues. Newtown, with a population of 12,000 people, deserves at least two post offices."

Mr Mills said he was planning another meeting with the Post Office and local politicians in Newtown at the beginning of May.

Pauline Albrecht, sub-postmistress in Abermule, said more than 200 people gathered in the village hall last Thursday.

Outreach service

"It was very well attended and were joined by three representatives from the post office and someone from Postwatch."

The Post Office's proposals include establishing 24 outreach service points to replace some branches.

The announcement follows the decision to close 29 branches in Cardiff, Bridgend, Vale of Glamorgan and valleys.

Meanwhile, 19 post offices are to shut in Newport and the Gwent Valleys and plans to close a 20th branch are to go out to consultation.

The Post Office said public meetings were just one way in which it meets it commitment to public consultation. People can also write or email.

"We listen and then use the information gathered, before making a final decision about a particular branch," said a spokeswoman.

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