Threatened post office to stay open - for now

CAMPAIGNERS are celebrating after Post Office bosses decided not to close Islington s precious Crown Post Office – yet.

CAMPAIGNERS are celebrating after Post Office bosses decided not to close Islington's precious Crown Post Office - yet.

For nearly a year residents have battled to save Essex Road post office after plans were announced to shut it down, along with five others in the area.

This week the Post Office confirmed that the Crown post office in Ludgate Circus, in the City, will close, along with two smaller sub post offices at the King's Cross and Holloway ends of Caledonian Road, a third in Blackstock Road, Finsbury Park, and a fourth in Murray Grove, Hoxton.

But the Essex Road Post Office will live to fight another day - and yesterday (Wednesday) residents gathered outside it to celebrate the news.

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Dolores Murray, a member of pensioners' pop band The Zimmers, who lives nearby, said: "It's absolutely fantastic that we've been able to save it, not just for pensioners but for everybody.

"We went out in the rain, snow and all weather to try to save it. We went to Downing Street, Islington Town Hall, wrote to The Queen - you name it, we did it and I'm really glad it was all worthwhile."

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Islington's ruling Liberal Democrats and Islington South and Finsbury MP Emily Thornberry launched separate campaigns to save Essex Road Post Office. They failed to unite for the cause and both are claiming victory over the reprieve.

The Liberal Democrat prospective parliamentary candidate, Bridget Fox, said: "It is a vindication of the continuing campaign that I helped run against the closure of Essex Road Post Office. We collected over 5,000 signatures, organised pensioners' rallies outside the post office and made submissions to Islington Council and Downing Street.

"It is not necessarily a permanent solution. But people will continue to use it every day just as they always have to make sure the services have a long-term future."

Ms Thornberry managed to persuade the Labour Government's post office minister, Pat McFadden, to make a personal plea to the Post Office chief executive to keep the Essex Road branch open.

Ms Thornberry said: "It's very important that the Essex Road community keeps a post office. I'm very grateful to the post office minister for intervening and I'm very pleased that the chief executive of the post office listened to me and local residents - by the sounds of it this was a proper consultation."

Mr McFadden said: "I know Emily campaigned hard and effectively on Essex Road Post Office.

"She worked constructively with the Government, Post Office and local people to try to find a solution."

A Post Office spokeswoman added: "Public consultation has been held on a proposal to close Essex Road Crown Post Office but Post Office Ltd has announced it has been decided not to proceed with the closure of this branch at this time as discussions with a potential franchise partner are now underway.

"If these negotiations are successful there will be a six week consultation on a proposal to franchise this Post Office branch.

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