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000Shelley&Justin

Shelley and Justin signed their pledges at the stall in Kings Road market last Saturday

Save St Leonards Crown Post Office takes pledges to Seaford and plans a third public meeting for the local community

At 11.30pm this Saturday at Seaford Post Office, a delegation from St Leonards and Newhaven Crown Post Offices will deliver over 500 pledges to the owner of the Seaford sub-post office. Erica Smith shares the latest campaign’s latest news and plans.

Mr Selva Muttiah, franchisee at Seaford, has just been granted the franchise to run the Newhaven Post Office. This is despite significant opposition to the proposal from the local community, and the fact that he has a criminal record for selling alcohol to minors.

The Save the St Leonards Crown Post Office Campaign came up with the idea of a pledge that people would sign, declaring that if the Crown Post Office was sold off to become a Post Office / Newsagents run by a franchisee, they would only use the Postal Services offered, and not support the commercial side of the business.

000Pledge

Well over 500 of these pledge certificates have been signed by local residents to show that they do not support the propossal to turn the Crown Post Office into a franchised Post Office/Newsagents

Both Newhaven and St Leonards Crown Post Offices have been going through a similar ‘consultation’ procedure. Post Office Ltd intends to strip them of their Crown Post Office status which means the level of services that they offer cannot be guaranteed in the future.

Newhaven found out on 19 September that Mr Muttiah was successful in his application for the franchise. St Leonards-on-Sea Post Office is one month behind Newhaven on the consultation schedule, so the news should be announced in about two weeks time.

Ms Jennifer Jones of Newhaven has led a strong community campaign against the downgrading and franchising of the Newhaven Crown Post Office. She has even sent a poem to the Queen! She is particularly shocked that the Post Office seems to consider that a man who has a criminal record for selling alcohol to minors is an ideal franchisee to entrust with a Post Office convenience store.

“It is inappropriate for Post Office Ltd to select this person to run our Post Office. Newhaven is a family-orientated town, and everyone knows how damaging alcohol is to children.”

At the Post Office Ltd ‘User Forum’ on 3 August, local residents of St Leonards-on-Sea were horrified to discover that not only was Mr Muttiah lined up to take on the Crown Post Office as a franchised Post Office/Newsagents, but he was being sold the freehold of the building – members of the public reacted to the news with shouts of ‘land grab’ and ‘back door privatisation’.

Amber Rudd has spoken to Post Office Ltd to voice concern about whether Mr Muttiah is an appropriate person to take on the Post Office. Peter Chowney, Leader of Hastings Borough Council, says if Post Office Ltd review their decision to sign the building over to Mr Muttiah, they would be prepared to commission a feasibility study to see if the Council could take on the building, convert the first floor into affordable accommodation and find a franchisee for the Post Office services.

On Saturday 21 November at 11am, there will be a public meeting to bring the community up to date on the plans for the building. Elected representatives have been invited, including Peter Chowney and local councillors. A representative of the Communication Workers Union will be in attendance.

This procedure has been carried out with no regard for the community. If Mr Muttiah is sold our Post Office building and the franchise to run a Post Office/Newsagents it will be a perfect example of privatisation by the back door. We have six shops that sell newspapers and tobacco within 100 yards of the Post Office. Mr Muttiah’s business plan to take on this franchise does not stand up. He is being offered an important piece of St Leonards real estate at a bargain price, with no guarantee that he can run an ethical and sustainable service for the local community.

Post-a-letter Flash Mob

After the meeting on Saturday 21 November, at noon, local residents are invited to form an orderly queue in the post office and all post a letter to show how much they value the services offered by the Crown Post Office.

For more information visit the Facebook page for the Campaign

To join the delegation visiting Seaford, visit the Facebook event page

For information about the public meeting and flash mob on 21 October, visit the Facebook event page

Posted 23:02 Wednesday, Oct 11, 2017 In: Campaigns

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