Public meeting held on the future of Port Talbot's Crown Post Office
PORT Talbot residents, politicians and councillors have been having their say about the future of the town's Crown Post Office.
Post Office Ltd is proposing to close the Crown Post Office in Station Road and seek a retail partner elsewhere in the town.
It is part of proposals to close eight out of 20 Crown Post Offices in Wales — which includes Neath, Carmarthen and Morriston.
The Communication Workers Union (CWU) which represents post office workers is against the plans and believes it could leave the Port Talbot area without a post office altogether.
The union held a public meeting yesterday at Aberavon Community Centre, for the community to have the chance to quiz post office representatives.
Non Williams from the Post Office said the Port Talbot branch would only close if they find a franchise.
"We want to keep the post office services in Port Talbot," she said.
"The best way to do that in the long term is to partner with a retailer. We are not taking the post office away from Port Talbot."
She said if a partner was found a six week public consultation would be held for residents to have their say on access and location.
Aberavon MP Dr Hywel Francis also spoke at the meeting.
He said the Aberavon Labour Party from day one had been opposed to this proposal.
"I think it is the best post office, not because it is in Port Talbot, but because of the quality of its service, its location, its easy access, welcoming environment and its quality of professional staff," he said. "On behalf of the people of Aberavon I put out a heartfelt plea at this very late stage that we should maintain our post office where it is."
Neath town mayor Mark Fisher, who has been campaigning to keep the Neath Crown Post Office open, also attended. "I am here to show my support to what you are doing," he said."I believe Neath Port Talbot need to work together to fight this attack on our services."
Margam councillor Rob Jones said he has been involved in this campaign since the beginning.
"We all need to make sure these community services are not lost," he said.
Residents also had their chance to speak out. One said: "It should not be about finance but about public services." Another said he feared that if a retailer took on the services, they may not be able to cope. "If you cut branches you have got the stump left and that will eventually die," he said.
Aberavon councillor Tony Taylor said residents had already witnessed a smaller post office close nearby.
"We fought for that one and it closed," he said. "They transferred the business to Victoria Road and that has been closed and been given to a smaller franchise.
"I think the people of Aberavon are going to suffer again. We need a large post office that is central, which is accessible."