Saturday, 26 January 2008

Delay in naming PO closures

AN announcement of which West Somerset communities stand to lose their sub-Post Offices under swingeing Government cuts in Royal Mail services has been delayed until late next month.
Public consultation is due to start in February on the proposed closure programme - but as yet nobody outside Post Office Ltd and the Government knows which services are at risk.
The Government has ordered the Post Office to cut its network of offices over the next 18 months by 2,500 nationwide.
However, it still wants to ensure that almost nobody in a rural area such as Exmoor is more than three miles from their nearest Post Office ‘outlet’.
So, it is proposing to replace some rural offices with part-time or mobile postal services to help meet the new standard.
Now, The Post has learned that a six-week consultation on proposed closures locally will not start until ‘towards the end of February’.
And the identities of the threatened Post Offices will not be made public until the actual day the consultation starts.
A Post Office spokesman told The Post: “What happens is that on the first day, in the morning, we will send out a press release which will give a list of the offices proposed for closure and a list of those proposed to close and have an outreach facility put in their place.”
The spokesman said no firm date could be given because the details of the proposals were still being prepared.
He said the process of engaging local councils, MPs, and the Postwatch consumer body in the programme had begun in December.
Campaigners fighting the cuts programme were not optimistic of any success, after hearing that only 10 of the first 230 offices earmarked for closure in other areas had been saved through the consultation process.
But West Somerset MP Ian Liddell-Grainger told The Post: “Whatever the announcement is, I will be fighting every single one in conjunction with the postmasters.
“It is not acceptable for an area such as ours, which has enormous rural tracts, to be deprived of services.
“The Government is well aware of my feelings already. I have made it plain to them in letters and meetings. I will continue to fight the issue.”

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.