In the foyer of the big Co-op on Bolton Road nobody is refusing to sign the petition proffered by local councillors Sue Pugh and Joe Murphy to try and stop the closure of the 'Height's only post office.
The Co-op announced this week that its store will be closing in September and campaigners believe that it will be bulldozed and replaced with a new Aldi, potentially without a post office.
"This has caused a furore across the wider area with people complaining" says Claremont councillor Joe Murphy "I think part of it is that it's come as a shock. It was a shock to us that this place was closing, there's a tremendous demand."
Councillor Sue Pugh, who is also collecting lots of signatures, agrees: "We're getting a lot of support and I've had a lot of emails and phone calls from people who are really concerned, not just for themselves but for their mums and families with children who haven't got the means or time necessarily to travel a long way.
"For people who live on the 'Height the nearest post office is the small one near Hope Hospital and, if you're a pensioner, it's a couple of miles down the road" she adds "It's all uphill on the way back and there's no direct bus service to get you there. So we need to keep a post office on the Height."
Sue recalls that there was a similar campaign a few years ago, led by MP Hazel Blears, who is apparently getting involved again. Campaigners are waiting on an answer from Aldi on whether it will have a post office on its new premises, while Post Office Counters which runs the franchise is possibly looking at other outlets in the area…
"We've got to show them that there is big local support" Sue explains "I've heard this morning that the post office in Swinton is closing and that's a crown post office which has been under threat for a while. So we're losing local services and I think we've got to stand up and fight for those services."
As well as the post office on the 'Height and in Swinton, there's been an ongoing campaign to save the big post office on Salford Precinct (see previous Salford Star article – click here).
"The post office has been privatised and they're individual franchises now" Sue adds "We ran a campaign to keep the crown post offices open as they were more in public ownership than small local franchises but at the end of the day somebody else makes the decision. So you've just got to campaign as hard as you can and show there is support…It's not about people any more it's just about profit."
To find out more about the campaign to save the 'Heights post office contact Councillor Sue Pugh – email@example.com
or Councillor Joe Murphy - Councillor.JMurphy@salford.gov.uk
Update: 9th July
It now emerges that Aldi do not plan to demolish the Co-op Food store at Irlams o' th' Height but intend to refurbish the building. The company is supportive of keeping the Post Office but has no expertise in this area, so it’s up to Post Office Counters to sort it out.
Councillor Sue Pugh says: "This is great news. Now we must make sure that a way is found to run the Post Office here. There has been magnificent public support to keep a Post Office on the Height. Many local residents have signed our petition to show Post Office Counters that they want to keep local services."