Have Your Say on Post Office Closures

PUBLISHED: 13:05 24 September 2008 | UPDATED: 10:32 04 May 2010

FOLLOWING its consultation on post office closures in Cambs, Herts, Beds and South Lincs Post Office Ltd has announced its decision on which branches in the area will close. 64 of the 71 branches originally proposed for outright closure will shut along wi

FOLLOWING its consultation on post office closures in Cambs, Herts, Beds and South Lincs Post Office Ltd has announced its decision on which branches in the area will close. 64 of the 71 branches originally proposed for outright closure will shut along with 16 of the 17 branches proposed for replacement with outreach services. Closures will begin during October 2008.

Postwatch scrutinised each of Post Office Ltd's proposals, encouraged customers to engage in the consultation process, and worked to ensure Post Office Ltd took into account responses submitted.

Postwatch welcomes these changes. We opposed the particular proposals on the ones chosen not to close on the basis that customers would have been excessively inconvenienced were these closures to proceed.

In addition, Postwatch has asked Post Office Ltd for a review of the proposed closure of Linslade Post Office in Leighton Buzzard, and Conniburrow and Fishermead, Post Offices in Milton Keynes, following concerns raised during consultation and Postwatch's own scrutiny of the proposal. A decision is expected in the near future.

In Ely there was real concern around unsatisfactory queues and the state of the main Ely branch, in particular the poor queuing system. Post Office Ltd has confirmed an increase in staffing and real improvements to the branch including a new queuing system. Postwatch has reached agreement with Post Office Ltd to delay the closure of St John's Post Office in Ely for three months to allow time for the improvements to take affect.

Post Office Ltd has also agreed to undertake improvements to other post offices where required to enable them to handle additional business.

Additionally, 16 branches will be replaced by outreach services (typically part-time services offered from a van or from within a local facility like a village hall). None of these post offices will close until its outreach replacement is in place.

However, in order to keep on course to meet the Government's instruction to close 2,500 branches throughout the UK, and to do this on a geographically proportionate basis, Post Office Ltd is now proposing to close three more branches in Buntingford, Royston and Hitchin.

Affected customers will be concerned that saved post offices will result in others being considered for closure. However, customers should understand that 2,500 closures will occur. The consultation process is not about reducing the number of closures, but Post Office Ltd trying to make sure the 2,500 that close are those that keep customer inconvenience to a minimum.

A six-week period of local consultation on the three substitute branches will be announced shortly.

Full details are available at www.postoffice.co.uk/networkchange. Postwatch will scrutinise the proposal and give feedback to Post Office Ltd, and encourages customers who use these post offices to give their comments to Post Office Ltd.

Customers should send their responses to National Consultation Team, Post Office Ltd, FREEPOST CONSULTATION TEAM, or via email to consultation@postoffice.co.uk.

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Do you think a new queuing system will be adequate for Ely.

Write to: the Ely Standard, 38 Market Street, Ely, Cambs, CB7 4LS or email the editor at: debbie.davies@archant.co.uk

LINDA McCORD

Regional manager Postwatch (east)

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