ELLESMERE Port MP Andrew Miller has launched a blistering attack on Royal Mail in the wake of the closure of Station Road sub-post office.
He has accused the postal chiefs of 'callous disregard of pensioners and the disabled', as well as turning their back on the office's long-serving staff.
Mr Miller said: 'The so-called consultation with the community has been a sham and it is now clear that as far back as August the Post Office had taken the decision to close Station Road.
'If that is not bad enough, to close just days before Christmas, when customers need the service to collect pensions and benefits for the holiday period, is immoral.'
He went on to accuse Post Office bosses of irresponsibility in the way the contract had been established for the property.
Mr Miller said: 'The Post Office claims that the new owner is throwing them out, and this was forced on them. But what sort of company is it that relies on tenancies with no provision for proper notice?
'They have known about the owner's attempts to sell the building for months and have made no provision for any alternative because they had already decided to close.
'All the work put in by local residents, with the support of elected representatives at all levels, as well as Celia Gregory and Yvonne Jones, the two long-serving staff, has been in vain - but what makes it more galling is the fact that the Post Office knew that from the outset.
'The staff were told this would happen by a regional manager who threatened them with the Official Secrets Act if they said anything. They had the courage to ignore this silly statement and told me of the conversation. Needless to say, the Post Office now denies this was ever said but I know who I choose to believe.'
He added: 'More than 2,000 people signed petitions, wrote letters and made calls expressing their concern but again to no avail. I found alternative premises for the post office but I was ignored.
'We now have no banking facility except a cash machine on an exposed garage forecourt to meet all the banking needs of the Westminster estate.
'The final day was fraught with problems, as the two staff had to face a threatened break-in and as usual they faced the day with determination to help the local community. These two women are undoubtedly my nomination for community heroines of 2004.
'The shambolic way in which Post Office Ltd has handled the matter, leads one to question the competence of the management and I hope the people responsible will seriously reflect on their actions and the suffering they have caused.'
A Royal Mail spokesman said: 'This branch was proposed for closure under the programme to reduce the number of urban post offices nationwide.
'Consultation ended on December 1, then once all the representations had been carefully considered Post Office Limited took the decision to close Station Road Post Office.
'This decision would have been announced in early January, with the post office likely to close in February.
'Unfortunately, circumstances changed and we had to close the branch on Wednesday, December 22, because the premises were withdrawn from use by the new owner.'