Post Office services in Etherley safeguarded as temporary arrangements are made permanent

RESIDENTS have welcomed a decision which will safeguard Post Office services in their village.

A temporary mobile service which visits Etherley, near Bishop Auckland, four times a week has been made permanent.

The temporary service was introduced earlier this year following the loss of the village store, which housed the Etherley Post Office branch, at the end of January.

At the time, officials said they were committed to maintaining a service to the village after parish councillors said a Post Office was “vital” to residents.

The mobile service is operated by Stuart and Margaret McCombie, who also run Tow Law Post Office.

The Post Office van stops outside St Cuthbert's Church, Etherley, on Mondays from 8.50am to 9.20am; Tuesdays from 12.05pm to 12.35pm; Thursdays from 1.10pm to 1.40pm and Fridays from 9.50am to 10.20am.

In a further boost for Etherley residents, DVLA services, such as taxing a vehicle, have been added to those on offer at the mobile Post Office.

Sheila McCann, regional network manager, said: “Our priority is to safeguard Post Office services in the longer term.

“Establishing this mobile service presents the best possible solution to allow us to restore access to Post Office services in the High Etherley area.”

Among those using the service when it called yesterday (Tuesday, December 10) was 79-year-old Audrey Bland.

She said the Post Office's decision to make the temporary mobile service a permanent arrangement was welcome news.

“I use the Post Office every week and I remember when we used to have two, but both of have closed.

“We were all quite worried that this was going to disappear as well.”

Mrs Bland added: “The mobile service is very well used, particularly among us older people.”

Parish councillor Anthea Tallentire said: “If the Post Office was lost, it would just be another nail in the coffin of village life.

“The bus service is erratic and it would be difficult for people to get into town every time they wanted to use the Post Office.

“The mobile service is very good and it is being well used.”

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