THERE are now only two post offices in the entire Westbury area after the post office service in Dilton Marsh officially closed its doors last Friday.
The decision to close the Dilton post office was taken by Fairfield Farm College, who ran the post office, as they have been facing financial pressures that also resulted in the closure of its café and shop earlier in the year.
Wiltshire councillor for the villages surrounding Westbury, cllr Suzanne Wickham, says that the closure will be a blow to residents who will now have to travel to The Ham (2.5 miles away) or Bratton (4.8 miles away) to access post office services.
“I am disappointed for residents, who I know valued this service in their village, and who will now have to travel further afield for access to a post office,” she said. “I will continue to work with Westbury Town Council to push for a new full time post office in the locality and I understand that there is potential for this to happen.
“Having found a suitable site to accommodate a part-time post office in Dilton Marsh it was disappointing that due to their business model changing, the Post Office are no longer able to consider a part-time facility.”
What about Westbury?
The Post Office previously told White Horse News that it would not be looking to replace the service in Dilton Marsh due to limited funding and a lack of footfall in the village, but they would prioritise restoring a town centre service to Westbury.
Westbury itself has been without a town centre post office since January of this year after the supermarket giant Morrisons, who bought out the convenience store and newsagent chain McColl’s in 2022, took the decision to close the Westbury McColl’s and its post office due to the unprofitability of the store.
The Post Office has repeatedly said that they have been considering new applicants to host a town centre post office, but no location has been confirmed as of yet. As of last week, they confirmed that another new applicant has come forward and added that they are, “Keen to restore Post Office services to Westbury.”
The Hollies Inn in Westbury Leigh previously put themselves forward to host a post office as they said that a potential post office could be accessed via a bus route for Dilton Marsh residents who do not drive, but their application was rejected as the Post Office said it was too far away from the town centre of Westbury.
Impact on The Ham post office
The Westbury Mayor, cllr Mike Sutton, says that the closure of the Dilton Marsh post office will increase pressure on The Ham service and added that its location at the edge of the town is not suitable for those that don’t have access to a vehicle.
“I think it is inevitable that there will be an increased use of the Ham post office because the need for postal services is still present,” he said. “The difficulty with The Ham site is that parking is very limited and not completely safe due to being on the edge of very busy roads.
“It does yet again disadvantage those residents who don’t have a vehicle and with the sorting office being well out of town adds to the difficulties of those many residents. With no banks in the town, having a post office is essential for those who still use cash and especially local businesses who are not cashless.
“Although the reduction in postal and banking services is countrywide, Westbury is particularly hard hit as transport links are so poor.”
Pictured: The now closed post office in Dilton Marsh.