‘Sadness’ as Cuckfield Post Office is set to close

Bridget Potter and Corinne Smith outside Cuckfield Post Office. Picture by Steve Robards
Bridget Potter and Corinne Smith outside Cuckfield Post Office. Picture by Steve Robards

The closure of a village Post Office has been described as a ‘loss’ for our older generation.

Cuckfield Post Office is to close at the end of this month due to the business ‘no longer being viable’.

Picture: Steve Robards

Picture: Steve Robards

Corinne Smith, counter clerk, told the Middy: “We are sad to go, it is not a viable business anymore. We know it is going to be a loss, especially for the older generation who can’t travel.”

Bridget Potter has been working at the Post Office as a counter clerk for a year. She said: “I love it and I am going to miss everybody – I am very sad.

“The closure is very hard on people, especially our older generation, but at the end of the day the business is not making any money and can’t carry on.”

Giles Darling took on the shop in December 2013, after the subpostmaster retired.

Picture: Steve Robards

Picture: Steve Robards

He refurbished it to sell cards and stationery. It was then officially reopened as a post office by Mid Sussex MP Sir Nicholas Soames in 2014.

Mr Darling, 48, who lives in the village, has decided not to extend his lease.

He said: “I am quite pleased for it to close because it is not making enough money to live off.

“When I tell customers they seem to understand it. It is really hard work, I work six days a week, there is a lot of work to do. It really should be a two-man job.

“When I started it was people posting letters and buying stamps. People get their pensions at the bank now, and people post more and more parcels now and we don’t have the space here.

“Going forward a Post Office needs to be bigger in Cuckfield. I started looking at getting a second counter, or going part-time, but the options were not financially viable. I had to make a decision.

“There are still regular customers but you do see less now. Fewer pensioners come in as some have moved away or died, and that is really sad, eBay and shopping returns are our biggest business now, and people come in cars.”

A Post Office spokesman said: “The postmaster has resigned and the premises, which we do not own, will be withdrawn for Post Office use. We are currently finalising the date when the branch will close.

“We understand and appreciate how much communities rely on our services. We are committed to providing a Post Office in the area and we are looking at ways to maintain service in the area. Alternative branches include Perrymount Road, Haywards Heath and Bolney.”

The full addresses for the alternative branches for Cuckfield are:

· Perrymount Road Post Office, 54-56 Perrymount Road, Haywards Heath, RH16 3DT

· Haywards Heath Post Office, 59-63 South Road, Haywards Heath, RH16 4LQ

· Bolney Post Office, The Street, Bolney, RH17 5PE (part-time branch open Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday: 9am - 12.30pm)

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