Fears for the future of Fernhust Post Office

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Fernhurst villagers are fighting to keep their post office and pharmacy after news that both services were under threat.

Fernhurst Centre trustee John Siebert said the Post Office could close as early as September.

“I understand it is with-drawing its licence from post mistress Lizzie Webber.

“Representatives from the Post Office have visited to see if it can be incorporated into any of the other shops. Unless one of them takes it on, then we will just have a van coming in for two hours twice a week.”

He understood so far there was one shop looking at the possibility of running the post office. The pharmacy is also under threat and a petition had been launched to try to save the service.

“This is the heart of the village,” said Mr Siebert. “At the Fernhurst Centre we are looking at the possibility of expanding our drop-in centre and while there is a pharmacy and post office and other shops around us, there is a reason for people to come in, but if these are taken away, it’s a threat to the community.”

He said Fernhurst was potentially a ‘great hub’ with the development of the nearby King Edward VII Estate and the former Syngenta site but with services being threatened in rural areas, he added: “It looks like a pretty grim time for Sussex villages.”

“This is awful news for Fernhurst and for a lot of disenfranchised people who don’t have cars, and are not that mobile.”

Lizzie Webber, said: “This is something that has been on the horizon for the last couple of years. It would be sad to see the post office go from here, but if it can remain in Fernhurst it would be fantastic for villagers.”

A Post Office spokesman said: “We have been in discussions with all of our postmasters as part of our branch modernisation programme – the biggest in the history of the Post Office. The postmaster at Fernhurst has expressed an interest to leave under this programme, subject to us finding suitable alternative premises. The vacancy has been advertised and we have visited the area to explore options. Any plans to relocate would be subject to a six week public consultation.”

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