Postmaster ready for fight

Mark Bamforth and Fylde MP Mark Menzies
Mark Bamforth and Fylde MP Mark Menzies
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A postmaster who is facing relocation says he is ready to go “all guns blazing” to fight the threat of being moved.

Mark Bamforth, who has helped serve the community of Lytham from his Warton Street branch for decades, says he is not getting any answers on why the Post Office is moving his counter.

The Post Office has begun a process of offering the counter to other businesses within a half-mile radius of the branch.

If an interested party comes forward, then the Warton Street Post Office facility will be moved to the new location. Mark is now demanding answers why he should move when the Post Office has “never been busier”.

He said: “The Post Office has been here since 1882 and served generation after generation.

“There must be a need for this Post Office, as we have never been busier.

“I’m in shock from the news.”

This is not the first time the Fylde councillor has been threatened with closure or relocation.

Last November, Mark was told he must increase his retail offering or face his Post Office counter closing.

He was asked to show Post Office bosses a business plan detailing how he could make up the shortfall of Post Office funding from the retail side of his business.

Mark added: “I want to know what the Post Office would gain relocating me, after serving the community here for more than 100 years.

“I’ve told them that I’m not going through this again in 12 months’ time if they don’t find an interested party, it’s not good for your health.

“I think its absolutely diabolical what they’re doing after 54 years of loyal service.”

A Post Office spokesman said they are still committed to maintaining a service in Warton Street, but need to ensure branches are commercially sustainable.

A spokesman said: “As part of our Government-funded investment programme we need to ensure branches in our network are commercially sustainable into the future, and the best way is for a Post Office to be part of a thriving retail business.

“Our next step, following discussions with Mr Bamforth, is to contact the nearby alternative operators to assess if they are suitable outlets and whether they are interested in taking on a post office.

“Where they are not interested or unable to make necessary improvements to their premises, the current postmaster remains on his existing contract, with the situation reviewed annually.”

Mark believes the support he can gather will be bigger than in 2008, when hundreds took to the streets to protest after the Post Office was earmarked for closure.

He said: “I am ready to go all guns blazing to fight this.”

The news of the possible relocation had prompted a large amount of support from residents and Fylde MP Mark Menzies.

Mr Menzies said: “Mark’s post office is not just a shop, but the heart of this community, and I and many other local residents are ready to fight for it.

“Mark’s family has owned this branch for years, and there has been a post office on this site for even longer.

“People know where it is and they have known Mark and his family for a long time.”

Cath Powell, a resident on Warton Street, said: “You could not get a more ideal location than where the Post Office is now.

“It’s the hub of the community, the Bamforths have been there for decades and Mark goes above and beyond in everything he does.”