Fakenham mayor calls current postal service a 'farcical situation'

Gilly Foortse is unhappy with the lack of action to see a more permanent solution after the post office close back in 2020. 

Gilly Foortse is unhappy with the lack of action to see a more permanent solution to the town’s service after seeing their post office close back in 2020. - Credit: Gilly Foortse

The mayor of Fakenham has labelled the service being provided to them by the Post Office as a ‘farcical situation’.

Gilly Foortse is unhappy with the lack of action in providing a more permanent solution to the town’s service after its post office closed back in 2020.

Her frustration with the service came to a head after seeing the post office understaffed, leading to long queues for residents. When she finally reached the desk her request was denied as the post office in the town did not have the necessary customs documents for sending her parcel.

The Post Office has said it continues to engage with potential retailers who could host a branch.

Queue outside the 'pop-up' post office at Fakenham's Miller's Walk.

Queue outside the 'pop-up' post office at Fakenham's Miller's Walk. - Credit: Gilly Foortse

Mrs Foortse was not only left frustrated by the documents, but with the lack of staff being employed, which in turn has led to long queues forming outside the ‘pop-up’ office in Miller’s Walk.

“I queued for 15 minutes along with 11 other people in order to post a large package to the Netherlands,” she said.

“The sole postmistress was working flat out. This, I am afraid, is the service the Post Office offers the citizens of a town of 8,000.

Gilly Foortse, Mayor for Fakenham.

Gilly Foortse, Mayor for Fakenham. - Credit: Aaron McMillan

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“The ‘business model’ of the Post Office is to locate its services in a convenience store. In a town that has four major supermarkets, it is impossible for a small convenience store to survive. Hence the reason that small villages provide a service unavailable to us here in Fakenham – a farcical situation.

“It appears that in our case the Post Office is struggling to recruit a second person to manage the Fakenham site, leaving one lady to cope on her own.”

Her comments come after Fakenham resident, Marie Challis, voiced her concern over the service.

Inside the new pop up Post Office in Fakenham. Picture: Post Office

Inside the new pop up Post Office in Fakenham. Picture: Post Office - Credit: Archant

Jerome Mayhew, MP for Broadland said he had repeatedly been in touch with the Post Office and had even raised the issue with the government.

A Post Office spokesperson said: “We’re currently offering services from a ‘Pop-up’ counter in Fakenham which allows customers to continue to do their everyday banking and send letters, cards and parcels to family and friends.

“We know how much the local community would like to see a Post Office return and we continue to engage with potential retailers who could host a branch.”