New link for Bromfield Parish Council extraordinary meeting on closure of post office, tomorrow (Tuesday) 18:30 on Zoom

New link for Bromfield Parish Council extraordinary meeting on closure of post office, tomorrow (Tuesday) 18:30 on Zoom

With apologies, I have had to move the online meeting for Bromfield Parish Council tomorrow night (14 July). This is because I had set the original meeting up on a free account, not my paid account. The free account would have limited the meeting to 40 minutes.

The new link to join the Zoom meeting is https://bit.ly/BromfieldPO.

The Zoom ID for the meeting is 884 4034 4756.

The meeting begins at six thirty in the evening and will end by 8 o’clock at the latest. I’m aiming for 7.30pm

Ludlow Farmshop has sent an explanation on why it will be closing the post office and village shop. I reproduce this below. My aim in calling the meeting is to seek clarity on the proposals and to hear the views of people who use the post office and shop. I hope to see you online.

After I have formally started the meeting, I’ll suspend it to have an open discussion with parish councillors, representatives of the Plymouth Estate and Ludlow Farmshop, and members of the public. If you want to speak, you can indicate on Zoom by raising your hand. Or email me in advance: andy@andybodders.co.uk. I will in any event ask for comments from members of the public and councillors throughout the meeting.

Please keep your contribution brief. Preferably no more than three minutes. If you want to send documents to the meeting or share links, please email them to me by midday tomorrow and I’ll post them on Zoom and circulate to parish council members.

The parish council will formally resume at the end of the meeting. I don’t know if there will be a resolution to be put to a vote of members. I am not expecting that to happen but it will be down to councillors. This is new territory for us. My primary aim in calling the meeting is to seek clarity on the proposals and to hear the views of people who use the post office and shop.

Statements and comments on closure of Bromfield Post Office.

Statement from Jon Edwards, Ludlow Farmshop

This has been a decision that we have not arrived at lightly, in fact my predecessor was looking at the viability of the post Office 6 years ago. In a nutshell, for as long as we have operated the Post Office it has made a loss, not a small loss that can be absorbed into the rest of the company but a significant one. Each year the Earl of Plymouth trustees has funded this loss, however over the last 4 years this has increased dramatically.

A number of factors have impacted on this, the living wage has increased our salary bill, the commission we get from the Post Office services does not cover 1 member of staff and due to safety factors we have needed to eliminate lone working practices and put another staff member in there each day. The sales during this time have not grown.

We discussed with the Post Office the potential for relocating to the farm shop but were told by that it would be at our cost, this again was significant. Each option we explored brought us back to the same conclusion which is there is not enough business in the area to support the Post Office in order to allow it to break even. In actual fact, to give you some idea of how much this is behind where it needs to be, we would need to increase sales by 130% just to break even….this is not a fanciful estimation but a hard fact meaning the Post Office proposition is no longer realistic and neither are the continued losses.

I mentioned at the start of my reply that the trustees have funded the losses, this would quite possibly still be the case today, however after closing two thirds of our business, The Clive and Ludlow Kitchen due to Covid 19, and with no early indication that sales in the Clive and Ludlow Kitchen will get back to the kind of levels needed to balance our books when we do reopen, then the Post Office losses only make a difficult trading situation much worse.

We are not looking to make any compulsory redundancies and hope to move the staff into other parts of the business.

I am truly sorry for all those regular customers who do use the service, but I am sure that most people will understand that no business can afford to, or in fact be expected to take significant losses, especially in today’s economic climate.

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