Bangor businesses and politicians have joined forces in an effort to push for a long term solution for Upper Bangor residents and business people who feel abandoned by the Post Office.
At a recent public meeting (Thurs 19 April) organised by Plaid Cymru Bangor at Capel Penrallt, Bangor, residents and the business community came together to share their frustrations that a one hour weekly Post Office service on a Wednesday from Morrisons car park would not be sufficient to meet the local community’s needs.
Network Operations Manager for the Post Office informed politicians at the beginning of April, after the closure of the branch at Holyhead Road in Upper Bangor that a temporary closure had occurred on the 24 of February, due to ‘operational reasons.’ The one hour a week service came into force on the 14 of March.
Menai Ward’s County Councillors, Catrin Wager and Mair Rowlands organised the public meeting to gather information and give local people the opportunity to share their views.
Councillor Catrin Wager said: “A service that runs for one hour a week simply isn’t a suitable replacement for a full time Post Office. The Post Office in Upper Bangor has always been busy and it's used by a wide variety of people; from local businesses, to older residents to students.
Councillor Mair Rowlands added: “This is an essential service both for postal services but also for banking and paying bills. For the sake of our residents, it’s essential that we see full time services restored as soon as possible. We are also disappointed, as local representatives, that we were only informed of the problems by the Post Office, five weeks after the branch was closed.”
Brenda Owen, Manager at Dimensions Health store on Holyhead Road said: “We have a vibrant high street in Upper Bangor and local businesses are working hard to keep it that way. For those of us who do online retail, the Post Office is essential. It takes a good hour to take items down to Bangor high street by the time you've walked or parked and then queued to sort out your parcels. For a small business that means paying at least an hours’ salary or shutting your shop, each time you need to get some items to the post. That just isn’t viable.”
Another business owner, Tracey Williams of In Stitches said: “I have a lot of older residents coming into my shop and they are telling me that not having a regular Post Office counter service is causing them a huge problem. I'm trying to help by collecting parcels for them and taking them down to the high street, but clearly that isn’t a long term solution.”
At the meeting some of Upper Bangor’s older residents explained how difficult it is to collect their pension from the Post Office now. One explained that this is the second time in a year the branch has closed and that she was seriously considering swapping to a payment direct to the bank. Some also felt it was unfair on older people who may not feel comfortable carrying out their banking and payment services online, as they are being encouraged to do so.
Siân Gwenllian, Plaid’s Arfon AM who also attended the public meeting to support the campaign said: “The Post Office must get a permanent base in Upper Bangor. This is a vibrant business in close proximity to the University campus and has many older residents. The present situation, an hour’s mobile service in Morrisons car park, is not acceptable. I’m pleased to be able to work with the community and both local and county councils to insist that the Post Office finds a long term solution to reinstating a full service in Upper Bangor.
Hywel Williams Plaid’s Arfon MP said: “There is certainly enough trade to demand the continuation of this vital community post office. Local businesses and residents rely on their local post office, be it for banking, getting change for a float, collecting pensions or sending goods.
“The post office in Upper Bangor has always been an important hub and must continue to be so. I fully support the campaign to secure the future of the Upper Bangor post office and stand ready to work with others to find a viable, long term solution.”