Post Office move – putting a pint into a half-pint pot

Media Release Parks & East Walcot Community Forum

The Post Office is proposing to close down the existing dedicated Post Office at Cavendish Square. It is ‘consulting’ on moving it into a tiny Premier Newsagents/shop round the corner on the Whitbourne Avenue side of the square. The Post Office is attempting to sweeten the pill by having longer opening hours.

The document ‘Local public consultation’ explains that the branch has “been operated on our behalf by a temporary Postmaster”. They say

“We have therefore had to identify an alternative location to continue to offer Post Office services to the local community.”

However, they don’t really explain why. We know that the current operator wants to continue to provide the service. Presumably the Post Office could ask them to continue providing the service at the end of the temporary contract.

The leaflet produced is obviously a template one. It says that the Post Office would work with the new Postmaster and “adapt the current store layout, fixtures and fittings to accommodate the Post Office till, if needed.”

In fact, it is difficult to see how the “two low-screened, open plan, modern serving points” can be put in there without some of the current products the shop sells being removed and the rather high current serving counter removed. There is very little room in the shop for existing customers, never mind a queue of people for two Post Office positions.

As for the nature of the consultation, the “principles of Community engagement” tell us that “the decision to proceed will already have been made”. A consultation cannot, of course, be genuine unless the possibility exists of the people being consulted at least having the possibility of persuading the Post Office not to make their proposed change.

Martin Wicks, Secretary Parks & East Walcot Community Forum said:

“This proposal is absurd. You would struggle to find a smaller shop in which to try to put a Post Office counter. There is not much room for the current customers in the newsagents, never mind a queue for two post office counter positions. It is like trying to pour a pint into a half-pint pot. The proposal has all the hallmarks of cost-cutting. It seems likely that the Post Office wants to cut the commission it is paying.

The current premises provide ample room for the users, even when there is a long queue at busy times. That cannot be said for the proposed premises.

Parks & East Walcot Community Forum is opposed to this proposed change. Moving it into a tiny shop is guaranteed to worsen the service. The current Postmaster wants to continue to provide the service. They are collecting signatures to a petition. Most local people we have heard from think the proposal does not make sense.

Although there will be much justified scepticism about the nature of the ‘consultation’ it’s importance for users of the service to tell the Post Office they are opposed to this change, otherwise they can say there is not much opposition to it.”

To register your opposition to the proposal you can go onto this website: postofficeviews.co.uk

You will have to scroll through a list of locations until you reach Park SN3 2GD – 206548
or you can email your comments to comments@postoffice.co.uk
FREEPOST Your comments (that’s the full address)
Call 03452 660115
Textphone: 03457 223355
The consultation started on May 21st and finishes on July 2nd

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