Responses to Post Office Questionnaire and Submission to the Post Office Consultation
Below I have reproduced my submission to the Royal Mail's consultation on proposed Post Office Closures (which ended on 7 April 2004). My submission was sent to Mike Dalton, Midlands External Relations Manager for the Post Office and was informed by the responses I received from a questionnaire that I put out to as many affected constituents as I could reach.
"Further to our recent meeting, I attach a copy of my summary of the questionnaire responses from my constituents. As I explained, this should be taken more as qualitative rather than quantitative evidence. What I feel this information shows is that the closure of any post office will not only cause inconvenience but also considerable hardship. However, I do accept that there is a responsibility to ensure that we have a viable post office network and some closures may be justified to achieve this.
What I do not accept is that every effort has been made to explore new commercial opportunities, not only taking into account the expansion of financial services but also new locations for post office businesses in areas poorly served if proposed closures go ahead.
From its analysis of your proposals, which identifies those areas which will be particularly poorly served in terms of accessibility of alternative post offices, the City Council has particularly objected to the closures of Bournville, Ten Acres, Stirchley and Wychall Road (plus others not in my constituency). I agree with the Council’s recommendations regarding these offices although I would suggest that a more sustainable alternative to keeping both Stirchley and Ten Acres would be a new outlet in the proposed retail development in the Hazelwell area of Stirchley. In the short-term, Stirchley, at least, should be retained.
As regards the Bournville office, consideration should be given to retention/co-location with another business on the basis of potential for expansion into new services particularly due the potential customers from workers at the nearby Cadbury factory and other businesses.
Finally, I am extremely concerned at the proposal to close Wychall Road. This is located in an area of deprivation where accessibility of alternatives is particularly inconvenient (particularly with the proposed closure of Redditch Road post office).
I would like to see this closure withdrawn and an application submitted for assistance through the ODPM’s Deprived Urban Post Office Fund.
I trust you will take these views and those of my constituents in account and I look forward to a sensible revision of the initial proposals."
Comments from respondents to questionnaire
Those people not personally affected are worried about effects on elderly people, disabled people and businesses in the locality.
One of the causes of closure is the proposed payment of pensions/benefits into personal bank accounts. Many pensioners affected are worried at the inconvenience and prospect of having to use public transport or go into the city centre; those without bus passes will have to pay to visit alternative post offices. Queues in those remaining post offices will be much longer. For those with cars, parking at Selly Oak or Cotteridge is a problem. Bournville post office is essential for parents of children at the local school. Other shops on the Green will be adversely affected. Local school use the PO for banking facilities.
Worries about extra traffic problems in Selly Oak. Students without own transport would encounter additional costs. A local post office is a vital part of the community. Many anxious for the needs of elderly people. Extra difficulties encountered travelling to post bulky items. Local post offices essential since the closure of many bank branches. Useful for parents with children at Raddlebarn School who will face queues at alternative post offices. Walking distance too far to alternatives.
Concerns collecting parcels for those without cars and fears for safety at having to travel greater distances on public transport to alternative post offices.
Worries for those less mobile and delays involved when sending important mail. Stirchley needs a post office for diversity and local shops benefit from having a post office. Cotteridge usually has long queues.
Concerns for elderly people, parents with small children and disabled people, particularly those without cars.
Closure involves extra travelling to a hilly location and fears of being mugged. Difficulty of travelling by bus with heavy parcels. A far longer walk to an alternative post office.
Distance to nearest post office uphill. Lack of parking facilities. Concerns about access to alternatives for people who use Fairway Day Centre.
Kings Norton Green
Inconvenience of going to Cotteridge. Parking.
Moseley Kings Heath
Worries for those without own transport, ie, mothers and elderly people.
Oak Tree Lane
Concerns regarding extra time travelling to alternative post offices. A local PO is useful for obtaining information on local issues.
Concerns at extra journey involved to alternative post offices.
The post office would be more crowded with others from alternative post offices which have closed.
The following chart details the data from the questionnaire responses