A COMMUNITY with a population of around 1,000 people has been branded 'a forgotten village' by a frustrated resident.

Bradford Abbas, in the north of Dorset near Sherborne, has recently lost its only post box.

It's the latest in a long line of losses for residents, who have been without a bus service or local shop in recent years.

One resident described the loss of the village's George V post box, once one of two post boxes in Bradford Abbas, as like having its heritage 'ripped away'. 

The village used to have a regular bus service, two post boxes and three shops but is now left with just a pub.

One of the three lost shops was a post office that had existed since the 19th century.

The Old Post Office House in Church Road had been a shop since the mid-1880s, but in recent years had also been a tea room, hairdresser and a village store, each closing for a range of reasons.

The Post Office withdrew its licence in 2012 after the unexpected death of the then-postmaster, which was followed by a period of closure and then a series of different uses for the property, with it opening and closing.

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The local shop was not supported enough to be profitable and closed in 2021, despite a survey finding that residents still wanted a shop in the area.

Earlier this month the building's new owners got the go ahead to change the property to domestic use, meaning engineers from Royal Mail sealed off and painted over the George V post box in black, signifying that it will no longer be in use.

Dorset Echo:

Elaine Jacklin has lived in Bradford Abbas for 13 years and said she feels like she’s ‘living in a forgotten village’ due to its lack of services.

She said: “It’s ridiculous, that’s our heritage and now we can’t use a post box - they can’t rip it away like that.”

Ms Jacklin does not drive and said it would take a £30 taxi to travel to the nearest post box, in what she calls ‘false imprisonment’ due to no public transport.

"It feels like I'm living in a forgotten village," she added. 

Residents wanting to use a Post Office have now been given the option of a sub-office in the village hall one day a week. 

Robin Legg, a Dorset Council councillor, represents 20 villages in the Sherborne district, of which Bradford Abbas is one.

Cllr Legg said: “It’s hard to believe that Royal Mail could dispatch a works van to seal the old box knowing that there was no alternative post box ready to receive mail. They seem intent on destroying a centuries-old postal system.”

He added that the village has also been without a bus service for between five to six years and that the nearest shop is around two and a half miles away in Thornford, at that time inaccessible to drivers due to flooding in the area

Cllr Legg voiced his concern for elderly residents in the community who find it hard to travel and are unable to do an online grocery shop.

A spokesperson for the Post Office said: “The local Post Office building was privately bought, which the post box is part of.

“The new owner requested the post box to be closed down and due to the premises being a listed building the box has to remain in situ, although it has been taken out of service.

“A new location for a post-box was decided however planning consent was refused. We’re now working to find another suitable location to place the post-box,” they added.