DESPERATE efforts to save four Solihull post offices that were facing the threat of closure have failed it has been revealed.
An announcement by Post Office Limited today spelt doom for the post offices in Catherine-de-Barnes, Olton Hollow, Berkswell and Haslucks Green Road in Shirley.
The closures came despite the best efforts of Solihull people and politicians who campaigned tirelessly to keep them open.
The news was described as "devastating" by Gareth Thomas, sub postmaster at Catherine-de-Barnes.
He said: "Our customers will be absolutely gutted as they really thought we were in with a chance of being saved, due to the inaccuracies in the report outlining the reasons for closure and all the reasons the branch should be kept open - particularly with our extended opening hours which provided an open all hours service.
"One can't help feeling it was a foregopne conclusion - that a decision had been made and we were going through the motions.
"It is not what we wanted to hear and not good for our area at all."
Solihull Liberal Democrat MP Lorely Burt revealed she was shocked by the announcement which saw just one post office in Selly Oak reprieved across Birmingham, Coventry and Solihull - out of 51 earmarked for closure.
"I am thoroughly disappointed after all the effort and campaigning people put in with petitions, letters and residents' arguments," said Mrs Burt.
"There were good reasons to save each of these post offices and it does make you wonder whether this has just been a cynical exercise."
Speaking about Olton Hollow in particular Mrs Burt added: "The post office at Olton Hollow is the lifeblood of that little parade of independent shops and I'm sure we can expect footfall to decrease and the shops to suffer as a result."
Maggie Throup, Solihull's prospective Conservative candidate added: “This is devastating news for the sub postmasters and residents alike. I am fearful that the elderly and young families will be most affected by these closures – some of the most vulnerable in our town.
“Despite a rigorous campaign, including delivering a mass petition to Number 10 Downing Street, neither Post Office Ltd or the Government seemed to be listening. From day one, I feel this has been a sham consultation which was pre-determined."