Page last updated at 05:45 GMT, Tuesday, 5 August 2008 06:45 UK

45 post office branches to close

Post Office sign
The closures follow a six-week public consultation

Forty five Post Office branches are to close across south and west Wales as part of plans to cut the UK total by 2,500, it has been announced.

Post Office Ltd said 12 of these will be replaced by an outreach service - a mobile post office which visits areas.

Two branches which had been earmarked for closure - Carnglas Road in Swansea and Leonard Street, Neath - will stay open after a public consultation.

Instead, the Lone Road branch in Clydach, Swansea could close.

A six-week period of local consultation into that proposed closure will start shortly.

A further 12 branches in the area are still being reviewed and a decision on their futures will be made at a later date.

Aberavon: Abergwynfi, Cymmer Afan, Jersey Marine
Ammanford: Parc Y Rhun

Bridgend: Coychurch, Penyfai
Carmarthen East and Dinefwr: Blaenau, Cwmann, Llansaint, Saron, Tirydail, Penally, Templeton
Gower: Garnswllt, Parkmill
Llanelli: Achddu, Mynydd-y-Garreg, Thomas Street, Upper Tumble
Neath: Aberdulais, Cwmgors, Maesyffynon, Neath Abbey
Ogmore:Bryncethin, Commercial Street, Heol-Y-Cyw, Wyndham
Preseli Pembrokeshire: Albert Town, Little Haven, Llanychaer, Llwyndrain, Tiers Cross
Swansea West: Gors Avenue

Managers say a total of 292 branches will remain in south and west Wales and 99.4% of the area's population will either see no change to their existing branch or will remain within one mile (by road distance) of an alternative branch.

Steve Geraty, Post Office Ltd's network development manager for Wales, said the decision to close the branches had been "difficult" and had "not been taken lightly".

"We need to look at the future and the long term viability of all the remaining branches in this area, especially those in Carnglas Road in Swansea and Leonard Street in Neath," he said.

"I would therefore like to appeal to all customers and businesses to support their local branch and make it the first point of call for all business."

But Bethan Jenkins, South Wales West AM, believed Post Office Ltd's claim that most people would not be affected by the changes was "optimistic".

"They don't seem to have taken into consideration the area's geography and its transport infrastructure and the ability for elderly people and disabled people to get to an alternate branch," she said.

"To get from Neath Abbey to Skewen, you have to go up a massive hill and they haven't taken that into account."

Carmarthenshire: Blaenwaun, Llanpumsaint, Llansteffan, Nantgaredig, Rhandirmwyn, Tavernspite
Pembrokeshire: Clarbeston Road, Eglwyswrw, Mathry, Milton, Spittal, St Ishmaels

Neath AM Gwenda Thomas said she was disappointed at the closure of four branches in her area but pleased the Post Office has listened to the "strong case" to keep the Leonard Street branch open.

She said the closures would hit residents "who are most vulnerable" and who can least afford transport costs to the alternatives.

Post Office Ltd said the first closures will take place next month with all changes expected to be completed by the autumn.

The announcement follows a six-week public consultation, during which it was agreed to keep open the branches in Carnglas Road and Leonard Street because of concerns raised about the potential impact on elderly people and adequacy of local public transport.

A spokesman for the watchdog body Postwatch Wales said: "We opposed these particular proposals on the basis that customers would have been excessively inconvenienced were these closures to proceed."

The 12 branches which are still being reviewed are: Brechfa, Bwlchygroes, Dryslwyn, Ewenny, Gorslas, Llanboidy, Llanwrda, Prendergast, Rhydcymerau, Swiss Valley Park, Talog and Trelech.

The closure will be part of a programme of 2,500 across the UK announced last May because of mounting financial losses and falling customer numbers.

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