Robin Craig's post office in Stroud, Gloucestershire, dates back to 1862 when it was purpose-built, making it part of the original PO network. Robin has made a study of the wider pattern of PO closure and has come to the conclusion that the branches being closed are for the benefit of nearby Crown offices.
He writes: "Crown offices are owned and run by Royal Mail and are responsible for a large proportion of the PO losses and have a poor record of customer satisfaction. The people overseeing the closures, although wearing Post Office badges, are employees of Royal Mail who have typically worked their way up from Crown offices. Is it just me or is there a potential stink?"
He adds: "During the regeneration scheme a few years back I seem to remember Postwatch giving the Post Office a yellow card, warning that they were to stop using government money to enhance Royal Mail assets by closing sub post offices and there is a similar warning in the DTI current guide to closures."
And then there are those who don't mind closing but see a certain insanity. A Nottingham couple rang with a similar but different story to the one above. They, too, think there is a hidden agenda. They are on a main parade, a very busy office with a big international-based business in moneygrams and overseas parcels. Too successful was the PO's verdict.
"We will be fine," said the couple, who requested anonymity in order to secure their redundancy, "but our customers are not happy. We know the PO is closing the wrong outlet and the two little sub post offices remaining can't offer the services that we can."
Now, best of all: the previously mentioned retailers sent me a cutting from the Nottingham Evening Post which says that the consultants advising ministers over plans to close 2,500 post offices are pocketing £318 an hour to recommend the shutting of proactive businesses.