Hundreds sign petition in protest against St Leonards post office closure plan

Last November's protest outside the post office in London Road, St Leonards. SUS-160511-145244001
Last November's protest outside the post office in London Road, St Leonards. SUS-160511-145244001

Hundreds of people have signed a petition in protest against plans to close the main post office in St Leonards.

Campaigners set up a stall at the Kings Road market, collecting more than 640 signatures.

Post Office Ltd first revealed its plans last July to replace or relocate directly-run Crown branches in 20 locations, the one in London Road being one of them.

Since then, residents and shopowners in the area have voiced their anger at the plans.

Last November, demonstrators held a protest outside the branch in London Road, waving placards.

Last month a meeting at the Isabel Blackman Centre was held, where more than 70 people turned up to hear Mole Meade, the Communication Workers’ Union’s area representative for the south east, Kay Avery-Stallion, of St Leonards Modern Goods, and Helen Robinson, who owns SHOP in Norman Road.

Kay told the meeting two out of five businesses near a full-service Crown post office close within 18 months of the branch closing because of a lack of footfall, as fewer customers come to the area, which in turn has a huge impact on businesses.

Hastings’ main post office in Cambridge Road closed in March 2014 after more than 80 years of trading. It was one of 70 Crown branches targeted by company bosses to either shut or be franchised out to a retailer. A petition signed by almost 7,000 people protesting against the closure was presented to Post Office bosses.

Post Office Ltd said the changes to the Crown branch network are part of a ‘major modernisation programme’.

Roger Gale, general manager of the Post Office Crown Network, said some Crown branches were not profitable due to factors such as rising rents and changing town centres.

“We need to adapt our approach so we can secure access to our services in these areas for the long term,” he said.

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