A petition has been launched in a bid to relocate a popular community post office which closed on April 4, 2018.
Sub-postmaster Barry Collingwood who has run Springhead post office for 18 years took the decision to close the Oldham Road premises after a severe skiing accident.
Mr Collingwood, 70, who is helped by his wife Teresa, said: “We have been trying to find a suitable alternative location for the post office for the last four years without success.
“Post Office Limited would not allow me to sell the shop under the present contract. Their preference was it should be a retail business with reduced post office facilities and extended working hours.”
He added: “We appreciate what a great loss this is to Springhead and we apologise for the great inconvenience it will cause our valued customers.”
Saddleworth Parish Councillor, Barbara Beeley, one of the petition organisers, has approached local businesses seeking help in relocating the business.
She said: “We have so few facilities in Springhead. We no longer have a bank to carry out financial transactions – the nearest is 3-5 miles away and costs £5.40p on the bus. And there are no other means of dealing with finances.
“The Lees and Uppermill branches of the Post Office do not have parking or access for the disabled.
“Springhead Post Office has hung in the balance. It only stayed open because of the goodwill of Mr Collingwood and his wife.”
Cllr Steve Hewitt, who serves on Saddleworth Parish Council and Oldham Council, has used the post office for 20 years.
He said: “The post office’s closure is a devastating blow to the community and local businesses.
“I can’t help but feel the closures nationally of High Street banks and the savings the Post Office has to make after separating from the Royal Mail are linked to profitability and sustainability is not a priority.
“Sub-postmasters are considering a restructuring plan which could lead to the closure of 3,000 post offices in towns and cities across the UK — a third of all sub post offices.
“The Post Office should never have been split from Royal Mail – natural synergies and public services have been sacrificed for greed and profit.”
Mrs Collingwood, 66, added: “We would like to thank all our customers and many friends who have supported us over the last 18 years.”
A Post Office spokesperson said: “We apologise for any inconvenience caused by the temporary closure of Springhead Post Office following the withdrawal of premises for Post Office use.
“The branch was run by an independent retailer who recently closed their shop and at the same time resigned from the Post Office.
“While we always work hard to maintain Post Office services, we are not the owner of the premises and regrettably, we are unable to re-open the branch at present.
“We understand how important a Post Office can be to a community and would reassure customers we are working hard to restore services as soon as possible.”
Any retailer or small business owner interested in running the Post Office and incorporating it into their business should ring: 0845 266 8790 and talk to an advisor or email: NTquestions@postoffice.co.uk or go online: www.runapostoffice.co.uk
Meantime, customers are advised to use Lees Post Office, 38, High Street or Waterhead Post Office, 173, Stamford Road, both in Lees.
You can sign the petition online here.