HUTTON POST OFFICE. IS ANYONE LISTENING?
When Huttonian first started blogging (in pure innocence and naive ignorance of the consequences) he did so as he felt the 'ordinary villager' needed a voice, often reluctant to speak up against the diktats of the local 'establishment'-the highheidyins of the Village Hall Committee and the Kirk Elders, interchangeable in many cases. We have a classic case at this moment-the strange one of the (potentially) disappearing post office in which Huttonian feels a nostalgic almost proprietorial interest as a former sub post master. As keen bloggees from recent posts will know and as again reported in the Berwickshire's
account of the last meeting of the Hutton and Paxton Community Council-you'll need to fork out 65p on the hard copy, not available on line-the Hall Committee has formally asked that the mobile PO not to park outside the Village Hall during its two weekly visits to Hutton, one hour each Monday and Friday. Thus pensioners (and we are now talking about a maximum of 7 regular elderly customers)will lose any chance of sheltering within the Hall in bad weather waiting for access to the van or using the facilities as they used to when the office was in the hall itself. Parking in Knowe's Close, up the hill, beside the parking area may be more convenient being nearer to most of the pensioner's homes but damned inconvenient (no urinal pun intended)when it is cold and wet and you need to go, as it were.
Having talked to some of those affected it appears that the VHC have cited, inter alia, additional' insurance costs' should they have to open the building for an extra two hours a week (not apparently a factor when the PO was under the roof)and a possible clash with funerals flooding the car park and making it impossible for the van to position itself as usual. On the Richter Scale of spurious reasons these two must rank pretty high. The buzz on the (deathly silent) street is that this is purely an act of revenge on the PO establishment for closing the Post Office and a defiant statement of non cooperation. Great. But who suffers? The Post Office Establishment? They will terminate the service at the first defensible pretext: the village does not want us so farewell! No its the customers; a few hardy and some very elderly souls who really need the facility and given that the Village Hall Trust exists to serve the community, they now appear to be falling down on the job-out of pique.
I asked some of my contacts in the village who are unhappy at this decision why don't they say something? The Hall Committee members are all well known and for the most part accessible. Its the usual response-we don't want to make a fuss-heads are kept so low around there that a parapet is not necessary. Nor has the Community Council taken a position. Shame. Someone needs to try and put matters right before the village loses the only remaining amenity and those few surviving pensioners who like cash in hand are obliged to trudge into Berwick; much further than the Village Hall.
And if there really are additional insurance costs (which I doubt) then let us see what can be done about them. I suspect they would not be high and a coffee morning proceeds could probably absorb them for several years.
Apparently the Post Office is asking for comments on the enforced move to Knowe's Close: 08457 223344. But on protesting to them you are really talking to the
Labels: Hutton Hall Committee, Hutton Post Office, Mobile Post Office