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City Hall takes Post Office fight to the High Court

PUBLISHED: 21:58 03 April 2008 | UPDATED: 13:10 05 October 2010

save our Post Offices campaign 21.2.08

save our Post Offices campaign 21.2.08

THE Greater London Authority has taken its campaign to force the Post Office to rethink its London-wide closure programme to the High Court. The authority, along with the Mayor of London, is seeking a judicial review on the failure to allow the public enough time for a full consultation

THE Greater London Authority has taken its campaign to force the Post Office to rethink its London-wide closure programme to the High Court.

The authority, along with the Mayor of London, is seeking a judicial review on the failure to allow the public enough time for a full consultation.

There are 169 sub post offices and two main post offices under threat.

These include five in the East End at 75, Whitechapel Road, Whitechapel, Watney Street, Shadwell, Devons Road, Bromley-by-Bow, Heylyn Square, Bow, and The Quarterdeck, Millwall.

If the legal challenge succeeds, it will force the Post Office to extend the consultations.

"The High Court action is to protect people and communities," said a City Hall spokesman.

"We're committed to using all the legal and statutory powers we have to fight this.

"Post office closures have had a disproportionate effect on London."

The Mayor revealed in a letter to the East London Advertiser that he wants the courts to force Post Office Ltd to conduct a more thorough consultation with Londoners and reconsider the closure programme.

The letter followed Labour MPs, including several former ministers, staging a failed Commons rebellion on March 19 when they voted for a Tory Opposition resolution to halt the closures, which was narrowly defeated by the Government.

The Town Halls' lobby organisation London Councils has also joined the fight because of "the disproportionately high number of post offices marked for closure compared to the rest of the country."

The proposals will have a devastating impact on the vulnerable relying on post offices for benefits and hit shops and businesses in the high street, the organisation fears.

"We'll fight these closures to the very end," said London Councils chairman Merrick Cockell.

"The local post office is the lifeblood of London. Closures of this magnitude would be senseless, short-sighted and potentially damaging to businesses and vulnerable people."

Post offices have declined by a third in Britain since 2001, but worse in London where they have shrunk in numbers by nearly half.

The Government's criteria is geographic, rather than demographic, as the rationale for closures, London Councils points out.

The 171 in London earmarked for the axe represents a 20 per cent closure, well over the 16 per cent average in regions around the country.

Office of National Statistics figures show far fewer branches per capita in London than in Britain as a whole, one for every 8,460 Londoners compared to only 3,860 elsewhere.

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THE East London Advertiser's campaign to save the five East End post offices under threat is online:

petition

You can also tell the Post Office what you think.

Jot a line to Anita Turner, Network Development Manager, c/o National Consultation Team, Freepost Consultation Team;

Or phone 08457-223344;

Or email consultation@postoffice.co.uk

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