This week's MP's column comes from Robbie Moore, Conservative MP for Keighley and Ilkley

POST offices are the lifeline of many of our communities, especially those in rural areas. 

They keep people connected with friends and relatives, they provide financial services for the elderly whilst many of our high street banks are closing, and they enable people to renew licences such as driving and passports. 

Over and above this though, the Post Office for many people is the first port of social interaction that they may receive. Here in the epicentre of Brontë Country, the beautiful village of Haworth, our only remaining Post Office has been earmarked for closure by Post Office Ltd with the services moving to the newly built Co-op.

Following the announcement of this news, a campaign was launched to save Haworth Post Office and I am doing all I can to support this campaign. 

There have been a number of protests outside the current Post Office, as well as a petition which has gained more than 5,000 signatures in opposition to this announcement.

Prior to the summer recess, I was able to raise this situation and my complete disagreement to the Post Office Ltd’s proposals in Parliament as well as securing meetings with officials from Post Office Ltd who oversee all UK Post Offices. Earlier this month I hosted a meeting with a senior member of the national team and the Sub Postmaster of Haworth Post Office, Mr Ahmed, whose brother Sammy manages the day-to-day operation in Haworth. 

Our current Post Office is in the heart of the busy village, at the top of Haworth Main Street, in easy reach for neighbouring residents – many who are elderly – servicing the array of small independent businesses. Unlike many other towns and villages around the UK, Haworth has a thriving independent retail sector.

The Post Office is the first point of call for many of these businesses, whether that is for banking purposes, or to deal with the many pieces of correspondence that is sent day in day out. The Post Office Ltd openly boast on their website that they are “at the heart of every community” and are proud that they serve “half of all small businesses”. However, the decision to relocate this Post Office flies in the face of these commitments and instead puts barriers up to hinder local businesses. 

The proposed new Post Office rips the service out of the top half of the village and places it in a reduced service in a high street convenience store with non-specialised staff. This Post Office would be located at the bottom of two very steep hills from where the current office is located. To highlight the difficulty that this will cause to the many elderly residents residing at the top of the village who use the service on a daily basis, I walked with the Post Office representative down from the current location on Main Street, to the proposed location on Station Road and back up. It was fortunate that we did this walk during the summer months - icy conditions would have made the walk nigh-on-impossible. Haworth is one of the main tourist destinations for national and international tourists in West Yorkshire.

It is host to the world-renowned Brontë Parsonage Museum, the home of the Brontë Sisters and their literature, as well as being serviced by the Keighley & Worth Valley Heritage Railway. Tourists rely of this Post Office to send correspondence as well as exchanging foreign currency.

It is in a prime location to do exactly this. Moving it away from Main Street could have a harmful impact on our tourist industry. During my meeting with the Post Office Ltd, as well as the Haworth Postmaster, it become clear that alternative measures had not been fully considered in consultation with the local community.

Accessibility issues had not been fully considered and proper conversations with the current operator had not happened.

I have requested the Post Office Ltd provide an extra six weeks for further review so a full and proper discussion can be had around alternative arrangements which do not see our current service offering removed from the top of Main Street.

This suggestion is being considered by the Post Office Ltd and I am hopeful that such a concession will be made.

Ultimately, however, the best chance we have at saving Haworth Post Office is by responding to the consultation and making sure that as many voices as possible are heard as to why ripping this Post Office service away from the top end of our historic village is the wrong decision and goes against everything the Post Office is there to serve.