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Friday, 18 April 2014

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PO van is back on the road again

TYNEDALE’S mobile Post Office van is back on the road after being out of action for three weeks.

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After breaking down on Christmas Eve the mobile Post Office van run by Stocksfield sub-postmaster Martin Nichol is back on the road.

Ten rural villages were left without postal services after the van, a Leyland DAF Maxus, which operates from Stocksfield Central Post Office, broke down on Christmas Eve.

That meant residents had to make round trips of up to 10 miles to carry out vital transactions, including collecting pensions.

Sub-postmaster Martin Nichol said: “The whole thing has been one long disappointment.

“The van literally just stopped working outside Broomley First School in Stocksfield on Christmas Eve and because of the time of year I could get no replies from anyone.”

The van – which serves the communities of Bardon Mill, Humshaugh, Fourstones, Slaley, Langley, Colwell, Ninebanks, Simonburn, Mickley and Newton – was taken to a garage by Post Office officials on December 27 and required a new engine as well as repairs to the fuel lines, brakes and steering.

However, the breakdown has left some villagers questioning the reliability of the service.

Slaley Parish Council has questioned why no back-up van was available and complained about the lack of urgency to resolve the situation.

Councillors agreed to write to Hexham’s MP Guy Opperman and the Post Office about the delay.

This week a Post Office spokesman said: “We understand how important post office services are to people in the area and we would like to reassure customers that we have taken steps to ensure that, in future, a back-up vehicle will be available to resume services as quickly as possible.”

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