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“Mossley is dying” – Locals react to the Post Office closure

Last week it was announced that the Post Office on Manchester Road in Mossley would be closing in just a weeks’ time, so this week we went down to talk with residents and the Post Office to hear the peoples’ reactions.

The Horizon Computer system scandal of recent times has caused a huge wave of upset and disappointment, and Sub postmaster Idu Miah of Mossley post office was one of a wave of sub postmasters that was directly impacted by the Horizon computer scandal.

The scandal saw the faulty Horizon computer system creating shortfalls and false readings in the accounts of hundreds of sub postmasters across the UK, with the consequences of this being huge. Over 900 sub postmasters were convicted of theft, fraud and false accounting based on faulty Horizon data between the years 2009 and 2015, with many being forced to pay back money from the shortfalls that the Horizon software had reported.

This is the harsh reality that Idu Miah faced, which saw thousands of pounds of his own money being lost due to the computer system designed by Fujitsu. The issues that the scandal caused were felt far and wide, with victims and families facing illness, property losses, bankruptcy and at the extreme, suicides.

Idu Miah has since received some compensation from the Post Office, but nothing will make up for the problems that he and the hundreds of victims and families faced and still face today.

Before the closure was announced last week, the bottom Mossley post office was the lone post office remaining in Mossley – with the other post office located in Doubledays newsagents having closed with the closure of the shop.

So, with the Post Office now being closed this means that people reliant on the Post Office for banking and other services will have to travel either on public transport or by car to the nearest Post Office, which is now over 1 mile away in Carrbrook.

Visiting the Post Office on the Tuesday before it closed was a sorry affair. The Horizon scandal has clearly taken its’ toll on the effected establishments, as the sole member of staff behind the counter told us that he was an agency worker and was called in as a means of filling in for staff shortages.

 

Idu was also not present at the site, as goes without saying, and the agency worker said that he would not be in again. The worker also revealed that he had covered shifts across Bakewell and Derby amongst other places as well, covering for more Post Office staff.

The Post Office on Manchester Road has been a staple part of Mossley trade for more than 20 years and losing it will be a huge blow to the community for both other businesses and users of the post offices’ services. This was made apparent by every customer we interviewed that walked out of the shop – out of four customers interviewed, every single one reiterated the point that losing the post office will be a huge blow to the town.

Chris was just leaving the Post Office after using the postal services and said to us “it’s really sad that this premises is closing at such short notice. For the elderly and people who use it as a bank it will be a real issue.”

And Chris is right – at one point in time Manchester Road alone had two banks in proximity, with Top Mossley benefitting from two more. But at present, the Post Office is the only access people in Mossley must banking services.

Local resident Steven, a Mossley resident, used the outside bank machine and told us “I am really annoyed about it, there are no banks in the town and the post office acts as the bank as well as a Post Office. What are we supposed to do? Public transport is awful, so if you don’t drive and you have to go to a Post Office in say Greenfield or Stalybridge it will make life really difficult for the elderly and disabled.”

Steven also voiced his support for sub postmaster Idu, telling us “Idu has been a great person, he’s put an awful lot into the post office over the years and this is how he is treated! The post office is a shambles, the whole thing should be renationalised and should become something that provides a proper service and not just profits for shareholders.”

The privatisation Steven echoed his displeasure with was started when Royal Mail split from the Post Office in 2013 and finalised it in October 2015. The privatisation was supposed to help the Royal Mail adapt to the increasing demands of people sending parcels.

Nearly ten years on opinions still divide on the matter but with Post Office closures happening so close to home, it is hard to disagree with Stevens’ opinion on the matter. To show the extent of the issue, one release from Citizens Advice in 2022 told us that two Post Offices are lost every week.

The release also highlighted some stories that will surely be repeating after the Mossley closure, such as one woman who reported moving house after the local Post Office shut and she was unable to afford the bus journey to the new one. Shortly after moving house the post office in her new village shut as well.

The story unfortunately is unfolding in this way across the country, and for the other businesses on Manchester Road they are feeling the loss.

“It is terrible,” was the sentiment given by a butcher at Pattisons. “Mossley is dying. I mean the council are not doing anything for the town and local places are struggling. The whole Horizon scandal has been shady and it’s not fair what happened to Ibu at all, he is a lovely guy.”

The independent businesses on Manchester Road would benefit in the past from footfall from people pulling in to go into the Post Office, so now without that passing trade things will become harder for them as well. This was what Wildflower Florist also told us.

Wildflower Florist is one of the newer businesses to have opened on Manchester Road, and Heather Flynn has been trading on the street for just over four months now. Heather commented on the sudden closure as well, saying “It is a huge blow to the community. Most of the cars outside here go to the Post Office so that will stop, and there aren’t any banks now either. I mean what will happen to the cash machine?”

The cash machine, located on the outside of the Post Office, has been vital for people to simply get money out in Mossley – it is one of the only ones and is easily accessible for people prior to boarding the train.

All of these factors combined have taken a toll on Mossley and by the time you have read this article Mossley Post Office, an institution of the locality, will have closed its’ doors for good, leaving a huge gap in the service industry in Mossley.

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