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NOW COMMONS TO DEBATE THREAT TO POST OFFICES

PUBLISHED: 20:18 12 March 2008 | UPDATED: 13:07 05 October 2010

save our Post Offices campaign 21.2.08

save our Post Offices campaign 21.2.08

CAMPAIGNERS fighting the threat to shut hundreds of post offices have welcomed next week's Parliamentary debate on the controversial move. It follows Wednesday's London Assembly debate attacking the threat to 169 sub post offices across the capital as "misguided and disastrous."

By Mike Brooke

CAMPAIGNERS fighting the threat to shut down hundreds of neighbourhood post offices have welcomed next week's Parliamentary debate on the controversial plans.

It follows Wednesday's London Assembly debate condemning the axing of 169 sub post offices across the capital.

Now a Commons resolution calling for the suspension of the closure programme is being thrashed out by MPs on March 19.

Andy Furey, the CWU postal workers' union national officer, said: "We call on the Government to suspend the deeply unpopular programme and provide investment to secure the future of the network.

"This vital public asset can no longer be neglected.

"Post offices play an integral role in front-line Government services and provide social functions to communities."

The London Assembly came out with its own resolution on Wednesday attacking the closures.

Assembly member Richard Barnes, who proposed the resolution, said: "Post Office services are just as vital for the collection of villages that make up London as they are for rural communities.

"These closure plans will have a disproportionate impact on our most vulnerable citizens, in particular pensioners and people with disabilities.

"It beggars belief that when it comes to the closure programme, Postwatch is behaving like a lapdog rather than a watchdog."

There 169 post offices on the 'hit list' for closure, including five in the East End serving deprived communities in Tower Hamlets.

Assembly member Mike Tuffrey, supporting an agreed amendment to the motion, told the Assembly: "We all recognise that changes to our economy are having an impact on the financial viability of many post offices.

"But rather than shrugging their shoulders and closing the door on vital services, the Government, the Post Office and Postwatch should be exploring creative ways to expand the services offered by local post offices to secure their long term future."

Valerie Shawcross also offered an agreed amendment to the motion saying: "The communities immediately served by the 169 post offices earmarked for closure have the most to fear.

"In the short term we must recognise that this closure programme is a threat to services to all Londoners.

"Forcing people to travel twice as far to post offices is not just an inconvenience.

"It also has a detrimental impact on local shopping parades, the vulnerable elderly and the environment."

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The full text of the amended motion is:

"This Assembly condemns the Labour Government policy that will see the closure of all local post offices at the following London addresses:

Albemarle Rd, Walden Rd, Carlton Pde, Crofton La, Pratts Bottom, Brampton Rd, Foots Cray, 129-131 Green La, 71 Sherwood Park Rd, 350 Coombe La, 104 Kingston Rd, 16 Wimbledon High St, Woodside Pde, 268 Battersea Park Rd, New Covent Garden Mkt, 209 Lower Richmond Rd, 279 Putney Bridge Rd, 258 Balham High Rd, 179 Garratt La, 274 Mitcham La, 318 Trinity Road, Chestnut Gro, 30 Broad St, Cambridge Pde, The Common 38a Staines Rd, 82 Burlington Rd, 311 Hook Rise South, Norbiton Common, Plough Green, Surbiton Park, 110 Chiswick High Rd, Park Ave, 135 Whitton Rd, Hylands, Gobions, Camborne Ave, Emerson Park, Woodhall Pde, Woodford Nr Church 213 High Rd, Coventry Pde, Fencepiece Rd, 194 New North Rd Ilford, Woodford Ave, Meads La, Dollis Valley, Potters Rd, Childs Hill, East Finchley, 435 High Rd North Finchley, Nether St, Pennine Pde, Watford Wy, Englands La, Hampstead Heath, Highgate High St, Crowndale Rd, High St 298 High St Croydon, Bensham La, Central Hill, Selhurst Rd, South Streatham, 2 The Parade Mitcham Rd, Chipstead Valley Rd, Bishopsford Rd, Carshalton Rd, Mitcham Junc, Wrythe La, Gander Green La, Greenford Green, 22 The Avenue Ealing North, Boileau Pde, Churchfield Rd, Haven Green, Bollo Bridge Rd, Norwood Green, Park Pde, Askew Rd, Goldhawk Rd, Starch Grn, Fulham Rd, Kenyon St, Shepherds Bush Rd, Ladbroke Gro, Bennetts Castle La, Heylyn Sq (Bow), 75 Whitechapel Rd (Whitechapel), Cricklewood, Court Parade, Roe Grn, Brentfield Estate, 1,000 Harrow Rd, Stonebridge Pk, Chiswick High Rd, Old Isleworth, Nunhead Nr Sta, Old Kent Rd, Peckham Rd, Leinster Ter, Broad St, Gipsy Rd, Melbourne Gro, Katherine Rd, Masterman Rd, Romford Rd, Walton Rd, Town Road, High St Eltham, Plumstead Common Rd, Chase Side, Freezywater, Green St, Hadley Wood, Palmers Grn, Bostal Hill, Blackheath Hill, Woolwich Rd, Blackstock Rd, 235 Lwr Clapton Rd, Stoke Newington Rd, Cassland Rd, Chatsworth Rd, Murray Gro, Wilton Way, Buckingham Road, Headstone Road, Headstone Gardens, Pinner Green, The Hill, Bath Road, Cranford Parade, Uxbridge Road, Alexandra Park Road, Ferme Park Road, Salisbury Road, Weston Pk, 100 Caledonian Rd, 492 Caledonian Rd, Stratford Rd, Hither Grn La, Lee Nr Stn, New Cross Rd, Grove Grn Rd, Leyton Grn, Dockhead, East St, Ilderton Rd, Maddock Wy, Devons Rd (Bromley-by-Bow), The Quarterdeck (Millwall), Watney St (Shadwell), Formosa St, Harrow Rd, Lisson Gro, High St Northwood, Ickenham Rd, Abbeville Rd, Streatham Pla, Page Grn, 434 West Grn Rd, Moorfield Rd, Uxbridge Common, 154 Acre La, Clapham High St, Lambeth Wlk, Chingford Rd, Forest Rd, Orford Rd, Barking Rd, Field Rd, High St Plaistow, Portway,

...And calls on the Assembly to make representations to the Post Office and the Government to oppose the closure of these post offices to re think this disastrous plan.

It believes that Greater London Postwatch is wrong to accept the rationale for closure and that their acceptance of it is totally misguided.

The Assembly believes that post offices are a vital party of the community and should be fully supported."

A webcast of the March 12 meeting at City Hall can be viewed at:

http://www.london.gov.uk/assembly/webcasts.jsp

Public inquiries can also be made at the Public Liaison Unit, Greater London Authority, telephone 020-7983 4100.

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LATEST ON THE ADVERTISER CAMPAIGN TRAIL...

THE East London Advertiser is running a campaign to save the sub post offices in the East End that are under threat, a fifth of the outlets across Tower Hamlets.

They are at:

75, Whitechapel Road, Whitechapel, E1

Watney Street, Shadwell, E1

Devons Road, Bromley-by-Bow, E3

Heylyn Square, Bow, E3; and

The Quarterdeck, Millwall, E14.

Do you think our sub post officers should be closed?

Join the Advertiser's online campaign:

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 by phone on 08457-223344;

Or emailing consultation@postoffice.co.uk

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HIDDEN DANGER OF PO CLOSURES...

By Michael Parker

PENSIONERS face 'running the gauntlet' every week if they are forced to walk further to post offices carrying their pension and benefits cash through crime-infested housing estates.

For many using the threatened sub post offices, keeping their local outlet open is about safety, not just convenience.

Disabled Peter Harrison, 59, lives near the Heylyn Square sub post office in Bow and has trouble walking.

"One of the reasons I moved here is that the post office is nearby," he tells the Advertiser.

"Anyone having to walk to Roman-road main post office from here has to go through Tom Thumb's Arch (under the Liverpool St main line railway).

"It will be a muggers' paradise once the 'herberts' realise people are walking through with their pensions."

At Millwall's Quarterdeck sub post office, Barkantine Estate residents' board chairman Fred Quatromini is in defiant mood.

"Last time the post office was threatened we got up a campaign, collected 2,000 signatures and brought in our MP Jim Fitzpatrick," he says.

"Jim's already started his campaign, apparently, but seeing as he was Post Office Minster and is partly behind the closures, that seems a bit hypocritical to me."

Tower Hamlets Tory Opposition councillor Shirley Houghton, whose ward includes Millwall, put 3,000 leaflets out earlier this month and was doorstepping the neighbourhood last weekend.

At Devons Road sub post office in Bow Common, where the nearest alternative would be Bromley-by-Bow or Poplar, the Lincoln Estate residents' association chairman Graham Mantle is busy whipping up support.

"A lot of people round here don't have bank accounts," he tells you.

"So the post office is how they sort their money. It has a cash machine too, the only one around here."

The catchment area is huge, he points out, stretching east to the A12 Blackwall Tunnel Approach and west right along St Paul's Way, with an estimated 2,000 households.

The manager of the Fern Street Settlement pensioners' club, Pat Burton, collects pensions for four old folk who can't make it themselves, including Maud who's 92.

"They're angry and upset about the closures," says Pat. "MP Jim is getting a strongly-worded letter from me."

+++

You can also join the Advertiser's online campaign to help save your post office by clicking here:

petition

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