I've joined together with North Ormesby ward councillor, Lewis Young in calling on Post Office Ltd to support local branches – and protect community post office provision.
This follows the announcement by Post Office Ltd that the Kings Road branch – a franchise within a private business – in North Ormesby would cease operation on Monday 14 May, resulting in the loss of a Post Office facility in the area. In the letter, Post Office Ltd has stressed its commitment to local communities, and stated that the closure is “temporary”. However no other details were forthcoming.
In letters to Post Office Ltd, Lewis and I set out three asks:
To have a breakdown of the support provided by Post Office Ltd to the commercial operator prior to the announcement to close was made – and what support will be offered to any future provider to ensure long-term sustainability;
For a timeline for the sourcing of a provider, securing or kitting out of premises, and launch of a new post office branch to be published;
For assurances that any replacement future local provision would be situated in the North Ormesby ward area.
Unfortunately Post Office Ltd could not set out a time frame, and informed Cllr Young that they do not provide assistance to franchises such as the one at Kings Road.
Lewis said:“The post office branch is a vital community service, and one that many residents rely on. While this was ultimately a private business decision, it is clear to me that Post Office Ltd has a duty to ensure that post office provision is protected and replaced as soon as possible. Despite stating that the closure is only “temporary”, Post Office Ltd are unable to provide an action plan or timeframe to demonstrate how “temporary” they anticipate this closure to be – nor can they say that any future branch will be in the boundaries of North Ormesby ward.
“I’m calling on Post Office Ltd to demonstrate their commitment to the local community by ensuring that the post office branch is replaced is quickly as possible, and that any future branch is North Ormesby based.”
I say people in North Ormesby rely on their post office. It is an essential community resource which I want to see retained for my constituents. So far Post Office Ltd have not offered anywhere near enough assurance that there will be a post office retained in North Ormesby. I strongly urge Post Office Ltd to provide clarity to local people that this closure is not permanent and give us a detailed plan as to how they will ensure a new operator comes forward.