Campaign to save St Leonards post office reaches 10 Downing Street

Patrick Glass, Kay Avery and William Bullin deliver residents' demands to 10 Downing Street SUS-171220-111501001
Patrick Glass, Kay Avery and William Bullin deliver residents' demands to 10 Downing Street SUS-171220-111501001

Campaigners battling to save St Leonards’ main post office from closing delivered hundreds of letters from residents, together with a petition to Downing Street.

Patrick Glass, Kay Avery and William Bullin made their way to London last Wednesday (December 13) to deliver the 8,500-strong petition to Prime Minister Theresa May.

Campaigners have criticised a move by Post Office Ltd to appoint a temporary franchisee to run the branch in London Road from January after the proposed franchisee withdrew his application.

The branch is to be temporarily transferred to Potent Solutions Ltd from January 23 until a permanent franchisee can be found.

But those from the Save St Leonards Crown Post Office campaign feel this will mean the branch would lose its Crown status.

Campaigners said potential long-term post office franchisees were given just two weeks to express interest.

Campaign member Patrick Glass said this was an ‘absolute fudge’, prompting plans to deliver ‘Post Office fudge’ to 10 Downing Street.

Protestors also said the move by Post Office Ltd ignores a proposal by Hastings Borough Council to buy the freehold in order to protect the London Road branch, which has been backed by Hastings MP Amber Rudd.

The MP recently wrote to Laura Tarling, external affairs manager at Post Office Ltd, in support of the council.

Ms Tarling said any contract with a franchise owner will ‘protect the Post Office operation’.

Last Wednesday campaigners in London collected signatures for a letter to Margot James, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Minister for Small Business, Consumers and Corporate Responsibility, outlining their feelings over the latest turn of events.

As a result, 380 letters were delivered to Downing Street.

Campaigners then left for the Houses of Parliament to drop off a duplicate sack, and finally on to Post Office headquarters to lobby Post Office Ltd CEO Paula Vennells.

Members of the Save St Leonards Crown Post Office campaign have also submitted an expression of interest in taking on the franchise and running it as a social enterprise.