CONTROVERSIAL plans to shut a South Cheshire post office have sparked fears that elderly and sick people will suffer most.
Royal Mail bosses have earmarked the Audley Road Post Office in Alsager for closure as part of a national restructuring programme.
The decision has raised concerns among community leaders who are worried that older and poorly people will be unable to travel further to the Lawton Road office in the town.
Alsager Town Council was discussing a possible organised protest at a special meeting as the Chronicle went to press last night.
Speaking before the meeting, chairman Doris Burgess said: 'My initial reaction is that I am very worried for pensioners.
'The Post Office believe that the distance to the next nearest office is small, but I think many people, especially those at the Linley estate, would face a round trip of more than two miles. That would be too much for some to walk.
'The council will discuss whether the bus service can help transport people adequately before deciding on our official response.'
Cheshire County Councillor Derek Bould, who represents Alsager, was also concerned.
He said: 'Obviously I understand that for smaller post offices, the amount of business they do is quite small.
'But the service they provide is essential to many people - especially the elderly who can get supplies and draw their pension there.
'The extra distance these people would now have to travel would be considerable in a round-trip, and for those who are arthritic or un-steady on their feet, it will be a painful experience if not impossible.'
The decision was made after consultation with sub-postmasters across the country about their wishes for the future.
Scores of post offices are being axed as a result of Post Office Ltd restructuring its national network of more than 9,000 urban post offices.
The office at Heath Road, Sand-bach, will be definitely axed despite a considerable campaign mounted by councillors to keep it open.
Bosses said the aim is to safeguard community access to post offices, claiming that in many towns and cities there are too many offices competing for too
Area manager Paul Maisey blamed declining custom, increased running costs and poor prospects for the closure. He said the Lawton Road branch is less than half a mile away.
He added: 'We have concluded that there are several branches nearby and each one is continuing to serve fewer and fewer customers.
'If we are to survive as a business, whilst at the same time maintaining a viable network of branches, then we must change the way in which the Post Office provides services in the area.'
A one- month public consultation has been allowed before a final decision is made. Anyone wishing to make comments should write to National Consultation Team, PO Box 2060, Watford, WD18 8ZW, before August 29. little business.