Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Welcome for Post Office appeal win

An attempt by Gateshead Council to stop a post office from installing a cash machine has ended in defeat.

Sunniside Post Office had applied for the machine to be installed in 2007. A petition signed by 200 residents of the village backed the plan, as did Sunniside’s Liberal Democrat councillor, Jonathan Wallace. But despite this, the planning application was kicked out by Gateshead Council’s Planning Committee.

Labour councillors claimed the cash machine would be a danger to traffic as the post office is on Sunniside Front Street. This is despite the fact that most cash machines are already installed on city, town and village front streets throughout the UK.

Now planning inspectors have now overturned the decision and the machine will now be installed.

“This application should not have been rejected,” said Councillor Wallace, who backed the appeal.

“I find it remarkable that Labour councillors took the decision that Sunniside should be denied this service.

“Labour’s original decision to reject the application could not be believed by Sunniside residents when they first heard it.

“At a time when post offices are under threat, the cash machine will boost the branch in Sunniside and help to ensure it survives. We are now looking forward to the machine being installed. It will be the only 24 hour, free to use cash machine in the village.”

Councillor Peter Maughan, Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Spokesman for Blaydon, which includes Sunniside, said, “The government are pushing through the closure of a further 2,500 post offices throughout the country.

“Ministers claim the closures are needed as there is not enough business to keep them open. And here we have an example of Labour councillors actually trying to block additional business going to a post office branch.

“Thankfully, the attempt has failed. However, we are still waiting for the list of branches on Tyneside Labour want to close. When published, we will fight hard against the closures.”

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