7:08pm Friday 7th March 2008
By Thom Airs
Two political heavyweights and an Oxford pop star gave their backing to communities struggling to save their under-threat Post Offices today.
Oxfordshire MPs Boris Johnson and David Cameron visited six branches between them, while Supergrass drummer Danny Goffey returned to the one he used as a boy.
Mr Goffey and Mr Johnson were among dozens of campaigners at Stanton St John Post Office.
Mollie Ingrey, who runs the business, said Post Office Ltd had failed to realise the branch serves a number of villages.
She said: "People come from Forest Hill, Beckley, Horton-cum-Studley, Elsfield, and even from over the border in Bucks, to use us.
"They say it is 2.4 miles to a Wheatley Post Office, but we think it is three - and it is five miles on the way back because you have to go around the A40.
"There is very little parking at Barton, and no disabled parking, so people do prefer to come here.
"I am very confident we can get the decision overturned. We have found another Post Office which was in a similar geographic situation, and that got a reprieve."
Mr Goffey, 34, who grew up in neighbouring Forest Hill, said: "I used to buy sweets and cigarettes there and I want my family to be able to continue that tradition.
"I think it is definitely very important for the Post Office to stay, so people can cycle or walk there without having to go into town."
Speaking at Crowmarsh Post Office, Henley MP Boris Johnson told a group of 200 protesters: "Post Offices should be given back services the Government took away, like issuing TV licences and renewing car tax.
"You want your Post Office, you need it, and I will do everything I can to help you keep it."
In his Witney constituency, Tory leader David Cameron visited the closure-threatened branches at Stanmore Crescent, in Carterton, and Wootton, near Woodstock.
He also dropped in on the facilities in Chadlington and Tackley, which both face being replaced by part-time 'outreach' services.
Mr Cameron said: "The sackful of letters I have received, the number of signatures on the petitions, the packed village hall meetings, all demonstrate the importance my constituents place on their local Post Office, and the passion they have for keeping them at the heart of the community."
A six-week consultation period ends on Monday, March 17. All Oxford Mail petitions and coupons must be returned to us by this Monday, March 10.
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