God Moves In Mysterious Ways But Church Cannot Save Postal Services

Post Office bosses reject rescue plan for local services

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For more information on the council's campaign against local post office closures visit www.wandsworth.gov.uk/postoffices


Full details of the decisions and the issues raised during local public consultation are available by visiting www.postoffice.co.uk/networkchange or by writing to Post Office Ltd at Freepost Consultation Team (no stamp needed) or by emailing consultation@postoffice.co.uk.

They said plans to put counters at St Mary’s Church in Putney and St Mary’s Church Balham would “adversely affect” nearby post office branches.

The council and the local community came up with the church plans to maintain services in areas hard hit by closures.

Counter services would have been provided at the two churches to save people having to travel long distances to alternative branches.

Post offices in Putney Bridge Road and Balham High Road both shut their doors in the latest round of closures. Wandsworth has been lobbying hard to save services, and has been locked in talks with Post Office Ltd (POL).

POL had already ruled out re-opening the two branches at the beginning of July, but the council hoped it would agree to the church counters.

But in a letter to the council, Post Office chiefs say that because the counters “would not protect the viability of the branches that remain in the network”, they are “not suitable for a locally funded service.”

POL has also ruled out rescue plans for the Battersea Park Road post office. Negotiations continue over other branches and the council’s Economic Development Office is discussing future business options with all the affected sub-postmasters.

Deputy leader of the council, Maurice Heaster, said the decision suggests nothing the council says or does has the power to change POL’s mind.

“It seems that once POL has decided a branch has to close, that’s it.These church counters would have been an ideal solution, and would not have cost POL anything. But because some customers may have gone there, rather than to one of the few remaining official branches, the Post Office said no.  We are doing all we can to maintain services, but POL do not seem willing to meet us half way. Nevertheless we will continue talks over the five branches that POL are prepared to discuss.”

For more information on the council's campaign visit www.wandsworth.gov.uk/postoffices


August 18, 2008