RESIDENTS have spoken of their shock as Highbridge Post Office announced it will close this month.

The Post Office announced the news yesterday (October 11) after the Church Street outlet's postmaster resigned.

A spokesman for the Post Office said: “The Postmaster for Highbridge has resigned and the branch will close at its current location on Tuesday October 24 at 5.30pm.

"We apologise for any inconvenience caused by this closure.

"Alternative branches in the area include Burnham-on-Sea and Brent Knoll."

The spokesman said the Post Office is 'committed' to providing a service in Highbridge and said it is currently looking for other venues so they can serve the town in the future.

The Weekly News understands four staff will be affected when the Church Street branch closes.

Residents and businesses have spoken of their upset after the surprise announcement, with one resident saying it is 'another nail in the coffin' for the town.

Debbie Cogger, from Maisey's Bakery on Market Street, said: "A lot of elderly residents and business owners go into the branch every day to send letters or post cheques and the closure will make things more difficult for them.

"The news came out the same day as NatWest closed.

"As a NatWest customer, I was told that I could use the Post Office to carry out some of my banking, now I can't so where will I go?"

Marilyn Dodd, who lives in Highbridge, fears she will be isolated when the branch closes.

"They said Highbridge was starting to pick up, but with no banks and now no post office, there is no heart left here now," she said.

"Lot's of old folk still draw their pension weekly in the post office and this will affect them badly."

The closure means residents will have to travel to Burnham-on-Sea or Brent Knoll to use the Post Office.

Highbridge Mayor Councillor Bill Hancock said he was 'shocked' when he heard news of the closure and said he hopes a solution can be found. 

"We are extremely upset that the staff have been given hardly any notice of the closure," he said.

"We are also concerned for all the local residents who depend on this vital facility in our community.

"We are very keen to ensure that post office services remain available to people living in Highbridge.”

Mike Murphy, chairman of Highbridge Chamber of Trade said: "We wish the leaseholder well for the future and are very sorry to hear the sale has fallen through.

"Having a post office is vitally important for Highbridge, not just for those who use it to collect pensions, benefits and post, but also as a last bastion of banking here in the town.

"I am hoping that another retailer in the town centre may take on the Post Office service instead."