Denmead parish councillor Neil Lander-Brinkley is concerned about the reduced opening hours of the Southwick post office
At the heart of every small community lies a place where people get together and talk to each other, and swap news.
In Southwick, a community without public transport, the village shop with its post office counter and tea shop truly fulfils that role.
Within it, the traditional mail post office services as well as a banking role, being only the source of cash withdrawal in the village.
These services are valued by the small businesses in the village, the MOD facility nearby and the residents, particularly those who do not have computer skills or access to the internet.
All these things, with the convenience of parking close by, help to make Southwick the special place to live, and for many, to work.
The post office service needs to be maintained if the commercial side of the village’s life is to thrive.
But all is not well, for there is a threat. Post Office Limited propose to cut the opening hours back to fours hours, twice a week, but in the middle of the day!
Nobody in the village is aware of any research which has been done to justify the idea that 10am-2pm on Monday and Thursday will meet the local needs.
Indeed, many villagers are convinced that this is simply not adequate and will kill off trade altogether.
Elizabeth Fleck, a villager campaigning against the proposals, said: ‘Those who leave the village for work before 10am will lose the facility.
‘Businesses will move their post-based trade to a location with regular hours, and less trade at the post office counter will reduce the trade in the shop itself.’
She told me that there is a chance to protest at this proposal because a public consultation is under way.
Denmead councillor Patricia Stallard is encouraging residents to have their say on the proposals.
She said: ‘This just won’t do. Villagers have until August 21 to take part in the consultation and comment on the proposed opening hours and days. Please take that opportunity.’
Comments can be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org, by phoning the helpline 03457 223344, or by post to Post Office Ltd FREEPOST (to be posted by August 19 to ensure they arrive in time).
n Neil Lander-Brinkley is a parish councillor in Denmead and has got to know the village of Southwick very well as he works with Southwick & Widley councillors on setting up a new parish covering the new development West of Waterlooville.