A NORTH Yorkshire County Council committee is to investigate the closure of a Post Office in Ryedale – that has left the town with no postal services for seven months.

As reported by the Gazette & Herald, the Cost Cutter in Helmsley, which also offered Post Office services closed in August 2022 with no prior warning.

Following the closure, a temporary solution was installed in the town after a protest organised by Helmsley’s county councillor, George Jabbour.

Despite the significant demand on this service, this temporary solution came to an end in November 2022.

A Post Office spokesperson told the Gazette & Herald in December that there was an “interested retailer who wants to re-open the shop and Post Office” and that the Post Office was “working hard to provide a full-time solution as soon as possible”.

In January, Cllr Jabbour organised a petition that he handed to Post Office headquarters in London and a media campaign with coverage by local outlets and the BBC.

Read our past coverage of the situation: 

As a member of the Thirsk and Malton Area Constituency Committee, Cllr Jabbour also raised the issue in the last meeting of the Committee and the challenges that many people in rural areas face when postal and banking services are suddenly shut. 

As a result, the Committee will now start investigating this matter in its forthcoming meeting on Friday, March 31.

Gazette & Herald: Cllr George Jabbour with residents at the protestCllr George Jabbour with residents at the protest (Image: Cllr George Jabbour)

Community has been 'badly let down' 

Cllr Jabbour said: “As I mentioned previously, our community has been badly let down by the Post Office, not least because of their failure to establish another service before cancelling the Post Office mobile branch that we had in Helmsley.

“However, I am grateful to the support that I have received from the residents in the protest, the petition and the media campaign that I organised.

Gazette & Herald: Cllr George Jabbour with the Post Office's temporary solutionCllr George Jabbour with the Post Office's temporary solution (Image: Cllr George Jabbour)

“I am also glad that my colleagues on the Area Constituency Committee agreed to probe the access to postal and banking services in our beautiful but rural part of the country.”

Cllr Nigel Knapton, chair of the Thirsk and Malton Area Constituency Committee, added: “In the last meeting of the Area Constituency Committee, George highlighted the importance of local key facilities and raised the case of the lack of postal services in Helmsley as an example that demonstrates the seriousness of this challenge.

“I know from my experience as a councillor for Easingwold that this issue affects people across our county.

“Given the gravity of the situation, the next meeting of the Committee will investigate this matter.  I look forward to continuing to work in a constructive and positive manner with my fellow councillors from across the political spectrum to serve our residents.”

'number of issues to overcome'

A Post Office spokesperson told the Gazette & Herald that there is still an interested retailer, but there have been a “number of issues to overcome”.

They said: “We know how important a Post Office is to this community.

“We are still working hard to try to restore Post Office services to Helmsley as soon as possible.

“We sincerely apologise for any inconvenience caused by the continued temporary closure of the branch.

“There have been a number of issues to overcome.

“We currently have an interested retailer. Talks are progressing.

“In the interim alternative branches include Ampleforth and Kirkbymoorside.”