|Westminster hopefuls tackle Post Office queues|
Smallman and Slaughter voice concern over branch relocation
Local Labour candidates Andy Slaughter and Melanie Smallman have demanded action over local post office services and residents' serious concerns over the recent relocation of a branch in W14 and the length of queues across branches in the Hammersmith and Fulham and Ealing, Acton and Shepherds Bush area.
Following the closure of the Blythe Road branch last month and the opening of a replacement branch on Hammersmith Road, residents have expressed concerns about the ability of the new smaller branch to be able to cope with the demand, as well as its new location being further away.
Andy Slaughter and Melanie Smallman, who are both Hammersmith and Fulham Councillors, have demanded that the new branch be closely monitored. However, Post Office Ltd have stated that while they monitor the volume of business, they do not monitor the length of queues.
The average waiting time at Hammersmith Broadway has been recorded by Postwatch (the independent watchdog for postal services) as being 8 to 10 minutes, a level which Post Office Ltd believe to be reasonable.
Cllr Slaughter said: "I am astounded that a commercial business like the Post Office does not think it important to monitor the length of queues and that an average waiting time of 10 minutes is deemed satisfactory.I know from both my own experience and what many local residents and businesses have told me the queues at many branches is totally unacceptable, particularly the town centre branches. Many older and vulnerable residents rely on local post offices to access financial services and as loyal customers they deserve a decent level of customer service".
The W14 area has been particularly badly hit with residents relying on one small branch or having to make extended journeys - and experiencing snaking queues when they reach the nearest alternative.
However, Post Office Ltd have provided one piece of good news with plans to reopen a branch in the Lillie Road/North End Road area. Interest has been shown in reopening a sub post office here and Post Office Ltd are pursuing this with the interested party.
Cllr Smallman called for a new branch in the area to allieviate the queues at other branches. She added it was pressure from residents and councillors that led to the exisiting branch reopening.
Councillors Slaughter and Smallman are very keen to hear peoples' experiences at their local post office, wherever it is located, and what their average and longest waiting time is. They will then present Post Office Ltd with comprehensive evidence of the problems residents and businesses face in accessing local post offices.
April 20, 2005