www.hastingsonlinetimes.co.uk     Hastings & St. Leonards on-line community newspaper
One of the campaign strategies is to ask locals to sign a pledge saying if the franchise goes ahead, they will only use the postal services, not the newsagent’s products.

One of the campaign strategies is to ask locals to sign a pledge saying if the franchise goes ahead, they will only use the postal services, not the newsagents products.

Community presence to be felt at the Post Office Customer Forum on Thursday 3 August

00FlyerThe Save St Leonards Crown Post Office Campaign is concerned that Post Office Ltd are not taking account of local views on the future of St Leonards Crown Post Office. The Post Office is holding a ‘customer forum’ on Thursday 3 August they have specified that: ‘the decision on the way we operate the branch, so it is run by our new retail partner, is not a matter for public consultation’. Rod Webb and others from the campaign group talk to HOT about the plans for a mass gathering outside the Royal Victoria Hotel where the ‘customer forum’ will be held.

The campaign objects to the secretive and unaccountable way that the process has been carried out so far and will be organising a mass meeting at 5pm outside the Royal Victoria hotel, with delegates from the campaign meeting representatives of Post Office Ltd at the customer forum.

The customer forum runs from 3.30 until 7pm and during that time members of the public are urged to go along and give their views on the proposal.

Rod Webb from the campaign told us: “Crown Post offices belong to the community and once they have gone, they can’t be brought back. Although a franchised operation might begin with good intentions, the business imperative will mean that any unprofitable services are unlikely to survive.”

Erica Smith said: “One of the problems with downgrading the Crown Post Office to a post office counter service and newsagents is that there are already several newsagents and shops selling newspapers in the area. This is a town, not a village where the Post Office/village shop isn’t likely to have competition. What is the point of replicating services which are already plentiful in the area – this will dilute profits from the existing businesses.”

The public meeting on 17 July

The public meeting on 17 July

All 32 Hastings Borough Councillors are unanimous in their support for keeping the St Leonards Post Office a Crown Post Office. On Monday 17 July, the campaign group held a packed public meeting where nearly 60 people shared their concerns and started to plan to make sure their voices are heard by Post Office Limited. Councillors Trevor Webb (Labour) and John Rankin (Conservative) attended the meeting.

The closure of the Hastings Crown Post Office two years ago, and the downgrading of the service to a franchise run from WHSmith in Priory Meadow has not proved popular, and has left the old Post Office building unused, despite original plans for the University of Brighton to take it over. Local author Kay Green said: “The old Post Office was ours, and we never asked anyone to give it away. The counter in WHSmith is most definitely NOT ours. These days, standing in the frustrated queues in WHSmith, a comment I often hear is “how do they get away with it!?”

Whilst some might roll their eyes and call it a ‘done deal’ for St Leonards Crown Post Office, Rod Webb is optimistic. Bridgend Crown Post Office was recently saved because of active community protest, and he thinks that if local residents and business owners come out in force on Thursday 3 August to show the strength of support for keeping a Crown Post Office in Hastings and St Leonards, then Post Office Limited will listen to the community’s concerns.

The ‘customer forum’ runs from 3.30–7pm on Thursday 3 August at the Royal Victoria Hotel. The Save the St Leonards Crown Post Office Campaign group will gather on the opposite side of the road to the Royal Victoria Hotel from 5pm. Members of the local community are encouraged to attend.

If you want to find out more about the Save the Crown Post Office campaign, visit the Facebook page. Or check out the earlier articles on Hastings Online Times.

By following this link, you can add your concerns to the Post Office survey of customers about their planned modernisation/downgrading of the Crown Post Office. These documents are also available from the Post Office.

Posted 19:34 Wednesday, Jul 26, 2017 In: Campaigns

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