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Post office loses battle
AFTER months of broken promises and bitter negotiations Lacock Post Office has been told it will definitely close.
But the final insult came when sub-postmistress Emma Hands found out the news while being interviewed by a TV crew instead of from Post Office bosses.
She was midway through a live interview with GMTV yesterday when parish council chairman Terry O'Neal broke the news. He had assumed she would have been the first to know.
There has been strong opposition against the proposed closure from villagers and actress Dame Judi Dench pledged her support.
Mrs Hands came to Lacock five years ago with her late husband Michael to open their dream post office.
She said: "This has been an absolute nightmare and I am still absolutely reeling from what the Post Office has done. The fact that they did not have the good grace to let me know that my post office is going to shut it is frankly disgusting.
"After Terry told me what had happened I called them straight away and they told me that they had sent me a letter. When I pushed them further it turns out this was a lie and they had actually gone to Terry because they said I had failed to negotiate with them.
"This is devastating news for the village and I stand to lose my business and my home. The village shop simply cannot run without the post office and I don't know what I am going to do.
"The Post Office still won't give me a date as to when I will have to close. I am heartbroken and very, very angry with the way I have been treated."
Although Lacock was listed as one of the 19 in the county to close, Postwatch stepped in and vowed to help save it. It said a new public consultation would begin and the post office might remain open.
The Post Office claims it did not agree to this and that the last financial offer made to Mrs Hands was a direct result of Postwatch stepping in.
A spokesman said: "We have made a final decision on this post office and no appeals can be made against it.
"We agreed to re-examine the post office but still found it to be unviable. We have not yet formalised a closing date, but when we do Mrs Hands will be the first to know. We have tried to communicate with all of the post offices as much as possible, but sometimes this has proved to be difficult."
North Wiltshire MP James Gray said: "We fought hard to save the post office and this is very upsetting news for all the villagers."