WITH only a number of weeks to go until the town centre post office in Enniskillen closes on August 27, many have grown concerned about a break in service for this essential part of society.

Some groups within Enniskillen have requested a meeting with the Post Office to see what can be done to maintain the service locally.

Noelle McAloon, Enniskillen BID, said: “We have requested a meeting with the Post Office to see if they can update us on anything that they are having discussions on and to find out what we, as Enniskillen BID, want to be able to provide [as] on the ground support.

“We are not naïve enough to think that there is not going to be a break in service, as we are in August now and they [the post office at High Street, Enniskillen] will be closing at the end of August.

"We made the councillors and MLAs aware of this issue and asked them for their support. Everyone has come back and said they support our concerns."

Speaking on the benefits of a town centre Post Office, Noelle said: "Towns that have post offices have additional footfall and that is absolutely what we want, and a huge number of people see the post office as an essential service – it is particularly important now for businesses, as so many people rely on it for online business.”

A post office does not need to be within a convenience store, but can be a standalone business or attached to any premises.

Noelle said: “The post office can occupy a unit but it needs a business plan. You need to go to the Post Office with a business plan and show the business is sound and stable, which generally means you are bringing money to it.

"We are concerned that, at the moment, no one is viewing the post office as a business proposition.

"We have also been lobbying Retail NI on the issue and they support our concerns; they have informed us that the business model for a post office is changing.

"We want to ask the Post Office do they have a model we could follow on this?"

Elsewhere politicians have been expressing their concerns about the issue. Sinn Féin MLA Jemma Dolan said: "I have been informed that the post office branch located at The Diamond in Enniskillen may be closing as early as the end of August.

"I have written to the Chief Executive Officer of the Post Office expressing my concerns that the branch may close without a replacement branch opens that is located within the town centre.

"I believe having a post office in Enniskillen's main centre, the High Street, is important to the long-term interests of the town.

"Main town centres all over the North are facing serious problems with online shopping and major retailers like Top Shop and Easons leaving our High Streets.

"A Post Office branch must stay in Enniskillen town centre and I've urged the Chief Executive Officer of the Post Office to give this his urgent attention."

Enniskillen DUP Councillor Keith Elliott said: “The closure of the post office in Enniskillen Town Centre will be a huge blow to local businesses on the High Street of the town.

"The decision is very hard to understand, given the busy nature of that particular post office.

“It will be felt most acutely by the staff in the Enniskillen Branch, and by the customers.

"I will be meeting with Enniskillen BID, along with other representatives, to put the essential nature of this branch to the Post Office.

"I hope a resolution can be found to protect jobs and a vital service within the community.”

A Post Office spokesperson updated this newpaper on the situation and said: "We’re working hard to ensure that there is a temporary solution in place that will avoid a gap in service.

"We hope to update the local community later this month with regards to plans for the branch."

A spokesperson from the Loane family group, which own the convenience store, confirmed that the shop will also close on August 27.