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Forest Road post office may be forced to shut, leaving its operators with nothing after 25 years of excellent service, they say
Members of a family which has run a post office for 25 years fear they will be left with nothing if a planned relocation goes ahead.
The branch in Forest Road, Walthamstow, which has been at the same location for 70 years, is slated for closure as the Post Office hopes to open a new branch across the road under a new operator.
Former sub-postmaster Ramachandran Karalapillai, 65, whose family run the threatened branch, has accused the Post Office of being underhanded.
A consultation document issued by the company asks the public to comment on issues such as how easy it is to get into the new branch, whether there is easy access inside and asks for suggestions to improve the branch.
However, the Guardian found the new site is currently unoccupied, permanently shuttered and in a state of severe disrepair.
The building’s owner would not comment on its future.
“They are cheating the public with the consultation,” Mr Karalapillai said.
Mr Karalapillai added his family have run an excellent branch for many years and would happily do what the Post Office asked of them to keep the branch where it is.
He added that his sister, who runs the store, would struggle if the branch was shut.
"She can’t survive without the post office, but they won’t consider these things,” he said.
They have collected over 1,500 signatures on an in-store petition calling for the branch to remain where it is.
Mr Karalapillai said his family has invested around £150,000 in the business since the late 1980s.
Joanne Rogers, 64, a regular customer and supporter of the branch, said: “You could understand if it was a rundown place, but it’s not.
“It’s modern and open plan, otherwise 1,500 customers wouldn’t have signed the petition.
“It’s been their life. I don’t see why the Post Office would spend that amount of money to make that place fit for purpose when there’s already a perfectly adequate place here.”
The Post Office says the move is to provide a modern, open plan branch in newly refurbished premises, longer opening hours and the addition of a car tax facility.
A spokeswoman said: "There is currently a public consultation exercise to consider relocating Forest Road Post Office.
"This consultation ends on September 10.
"After that date all feedback will be considered and a decision will be announced in due course."
There will be a public meeting at the post office on Monday at 6pm, all are welcome to attend.
The consultation ends on September 10, with the proposed relocation due to take place in October.
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