“Nail in the coffin” of rural life?

by Jayne Glass

A Consumer Focus Wales report conducted earlier this year revealed widespread concern about the closure of post offices in rural areas in Wales.  In a video on the BBC News website, Glyndwr Vaughan from the village of Eglwyswrw explains how the village post office used to be not just a shop and post office but also a community centre where people would  meet and discuss matters concerning the village.  “Everything started in the post office, more or less.  It’s […] a dead village. Only traffic passing through,” explains Vaughan.  “It’s another nail in the coffin of rural life, if you like.  When the post office goes, a lot of other things go with it.”

In Transactions of British Geographers, Michael Langford and Gary Higgs assess the implications of the 2007-2008 Network Change Programme on the spatial configuration of post offices in Wales.  Using GIS to conduct a network analysis approach, they identify those areas which have no service within the access criteria used to guide the closure programme and calculate extra distance involved in travelling to the nearest post office (as for the residents of Eglwyswrw).  Langford and Higgs find that national guidelines on post office provision are not met, raising concerns about the implications of the programme.

Watch Glyndwr Vaughan talk about life in Eglwyswrw without a post office

Read Langford, M. and Higgs, G., 2010.  Accessibility and public service provision: evaluating the impacts of the Post Office Network Change Programme in the UK. Transactions of the British Geographers, no. doi: 10.1111/j.1475-5661.2010.00394.x

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