THANKS to community power, Ledbury people will be able to catch a mini-bus to Colwall Post Office while the town's post office in the Homend is refurbished.

But the lack of provision by the Post Office, to get customers to alternative post offices at Colwall or Malvern, has been called "appalling" by town councillor, Annette Crowe, who has helped to organise an emergency mini-bus link to Colwall.

Cllr Crowe is also appalled by the Post Office turning down her request for a temporary mobile post office in Ledbury, which would have made the mini-bus service unnecessary.

She said: "I am appalled that the Post Office has not considered the customers and has turned down my request for a mobile post office. I also asked if they could financially support a bus service for the elderly, for them to be able to get to a Post Office, a request which they also turned down."

Ledbury Post Office, in the Homend, will close temporarily at 12.30pm on Saturday April 11 for refurbishment to take place.

It will re-open as a modernised "main" Post Office at 1pm on April 23

The branch itself, based in the One Stop stores, will open from 9am - 5.30pm Monday to Saturday, with a selective Sunday service from the retail counter. The opening hours will increase by an extra 71 hours a week.

But it is not the first time in recent years that Post Office has been closed in Ledbury for refurbishment, and some residents are not happy about the temporary closure and inconvenience.

One resident on the Ledbury Reporter web site posted: "It is completely inept of the Post Office in not providing an adequate alternative for a busy post office in a town of Ledbury's size for two weeks.

"They must surely have known about the need to close the existing post office well in advance. They should have been able to arrange either a temporary home, or a portable post office. Even if you are able-bodied and have a car, getting to Colwall or Malvern is not an easy option."

Another resident posted: "This is not the first time the Post Office has proposed a temporary closure for works.

"It closed 2007 for two weeks, despite the inconvenience to approximately 3000 pensioners in Ledbury area, not to mention countless others and local businesses."

A Post Office spokesman said: "The Ledbury Post Office branch will be closed for nine working days and during this period the shop is also undergoing a refurbishment. Regrettably funding for a mini bus or a mobile service is not a possibility in this instance as we would not normally fund a bus for this period of time."

“We do recognise that some customers may need to travel to other Post Office branches during this refurbishment period. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.”

But Community Action Ledbury, town councillors and Ledbury Rotary have pulled together to come up with an eleventh hour mini-bus plan.

Clive Gunn, the mini-bus co-ordinator for Community Action Ledbury said: "Every day from Monday April 14 to Thursday April 23 inclusive we will have a volunteer driver in one of the Community Action Ledbury minibuses on stand-by. On Monday, Wednesday and Friday it will take Ledbury residents to Colwall Post Office and bring them back.

"On Tuesdays and Thursdays, it will go to Bromesberrow Shop which has a ‘pop-up’ Post Office on those days in the morning every week. Passengers should be residents of Ledbury who have no other way of getting to a Post Office during the closure who have personal matters to attend to.

He added: "People should report to the old CAL office in the road leading to Bye Street Car Park, just round the corner from Ledbury Post Office next door to the Public conveniences. The office will be open to provide shelter from the weather and inform them of the time of the next available seat. The minibus will run whenever there are at least 12 passengers and will shuttle back and forth starting at 9:30am and aiming to finish at 12:30pm There will be a fare of £1 per person for a return trip. In the event of greater need, two minibuses will operate."