Post office does not need to close

SINCE our local Crown Post Office was moved inside WH Smith, my local MP has received a lot of complaints about the reduced access this move has caused.

I have been following the campaign to save Hastings Crown Post Office and I am concerned vulnerable Post Office customers will suffer if the Crown Post Office is relocated inside WH Smith. I am also concerned ambitious prospective Parliamentary candidates in Hastings are using this campaign to gain popularity but are not trying hard enough to save Cambridge Road Crown Post Office.

When WH Smith buys the franchise to run Hastings Crown Post Office, the people who use this Post Office’s services will have to go through WH Smith to access these services and WH Smiths hopes those ‘herded’ through their shop will buy WH Smith products.

Post Office Ltd has made it clear the Crown Post Office in Cambridge Road will be shut down if Post Office Ltd judges WH Smith’s premises suitable to host Post Office counters.

The Post Office consultation Code of Practise states, ‘specific comments will be sought on the service issues – rather than on the principle of the change’.

You have not being consulted on whether you want your Post Office to move, you have only been given the option to comment on the access arrangements within WH Smith. The British public own the Post Office and if Post Office senior management want to close your Crown Post Office, they should ask you first.

It does not seem right that people will be forced to walk through WH Smith to access Post Office services so the Post Office can save money and WH Smith make money. It seems even less right Post Office users are being insulted by a ‘sham‘ consultation process that does not include the option to keep the existing Crown Post Office.

There was no need for the British public to have to fund the Post Office subsidy because, even before privitisation, Royal Mail was making enough profit to pay for the subsidy. The only reason the public has to foot the bill for the Post Office subsidy now is because the Post Office was cut away from Royal Mail to make Royal Mail more attractive to private investors.

Even though the public should not have had to pay this subsidy, the public still wants to keep their Crown Post Offices. It is not the public’s fault the Government gave away Royal Mail profits to private investors instead of using some of this money to fund the Post Office network.

Sarah Owen was photographed handing in a 7,000-signature petition to Post Office HQ and, at the next election, voters will remember her as the person who tried harder than Amber Rudd to save the Post Office that used to be in Cambridge Road.

However, Hastings Crown Post Office does not have to be shut down. If WH Smith pulls out of this deal, the Cambridge Road Crown Post Office stays open.

Should Sarah and Amber hand in copies of their petitions to WH Smith? WH Smith should be informed 7,000 people do not want their Crown Post Office moved inside WH Smith. What if these 7,000 decide to boycott WH Smith?

If you decide this, you ought to write to WH Smith and let them know that if they force you to walk through their shop to access Post Office services, you will not be buying anything from them.

ARUN JOLLY

Marlborough Road

Bexleyheath

Kent