MORE post offices across South Cheshire are threatened with the axe as part of the Government's controversial plan to slash the service by 2,500 outlets.
But Crewe and Nantwich Borough Council has already pledged to fight any closures in its area.
The cutback is blamed on mounting losses and fewer people using the network of 14,500 post offices across the country.
Campaigners say post offices remain the lifeblood of rural villages such as those in South Cheshire where transport into the main towns can be few and far between.
The announcement over which offices will close is not expected until the spring.
Borough council Tory leader Brian Silvester said: 'It is deplorable to even consider closing more post offices.
'And to say it is down to fewer people using them is a slap in the face when the Government has allowed vital business to be taken away.
'Car tax, TV licences and the Post Office Card Account are important in getting people into post offices and retaining the service for people who don't have the choice to go elsewhere.
'Since 1999, Crewe and Nantwich has lost nine branches, most recently those Alton Street and West Street in Crewe and Willaston and Barony Road in Nantwich.
'People in those local communities have felt the knock-on affect of having to travel into the main town offices which flies in the face of efforts to get cars off the road.
'In our rural areas and town suburbs the post office and local shop is the same thing. People call in to use the post office counter and buy stationery or groceries.
'For many OAPs they are a way of getting out and meeting people, a community facility they rely on.
'As a council we will fiercely oppose any further cuts by a direct protest to the Government and I feel sure we will have the support of the local community in doing so.'
The number of UK post offices has already been cut from 22,000 and there are fears the axe could fall heavily on Cheshire, in particular, the county's rural villages and hamlets.
Eddisbury MP Stephen O'Brien, whose constituency takes in part of Crewe and Nantwich, said: 'It is clear the Government does not understand the great importance of post offices to community life. Since 1999, Eddisbury has lost two branches. Now it looks like a further 23 could close their doors.'
But the Government says it can no longer go on wasting money on maintaining loss-making post offices. Four million fewer people are patronising offices, instead turning to banks and the internet.
At present, the Government provides a £150m subsidy to keep doors open but plans to make drastic cuts after 2008.
It wants to help the Post Office modernise, restore profitability in its main offices, invest in new products and look at innovative ways to deliver services.
That is likely to include setting up a network of 500 mobile offices in villages halls, community centres and pubs.
'Needs have changed'
POST Offices need to move with the times to survive, says an award-winning Crewe sub-postmaster.
After winning three national awards for his post office in Hungerford Road, Alan Green believes post offices need to keep up with current trends and beware of getting stuck in a rut.
Mr Green, 38, is the third generation of his family to run a post office in Crewe.
His grandfather, William, ran a former office in Earle Street in the 1950s before handing over the reins to his son, Neville, now 71. It relocated to Hungerford Road in 1994 to make way for the Grand Junction Retail Park development.
Alan took over from his father 10 years ago. There are three full-time staff and mum, Ann, 68, helps out behind the scenes.
He said: 'A post office has to be run like any other business. There's no use being stuck in the past. Needs have changed.
'Things aren't what they were in the 50s when transactions revolved round posting and deliveries.
'Services like foreign currency, travel insurance, home policies and eBay deliveries are now bread and butter. Staff get specialist training to deal with them and know the procedures inside out.'
Around 1,000 people pass through the doors of Hungerford Road Post Office every week.
It was rated best in the country thanks to the dedication of its staff.
Alan received the Best Regional Post Office, Best Town and City Post Office, and overall national title of Best Post Office as well as prize money totalling £500 which is being donated to charity.
A customer survey described it as 'the best in every way' and highlighted the staff 's great customer service, caring attitude and efficiency.
Mystery customers had been sent in and it consistently came out as perfect. Alan also had to write a short piece on why he felt it was the best post office.
The award was made at a national ceremony in London, hosted by GMTV's Lorraine Kelly.
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