Post Office Closures - 2004
Please click here for background on this issue
June 2004 update:
On 15 June, I was informed by Post Office Ltd. that they had decided, following the consultation to close the following branches: Bournville, Redditch Road, Stirchley, Weoley Avenue and Wychall Road. They stated that they were still considering feedback on Raddlebarn Raod and Ten Acre Street. As a result of their letter of notifcation, I tabled the following Early Day Motion, number 1356 and signed number 1360 put down by my colleague, Richard Burden, MP for Birmingham Northfield:
|POST OFFICES IN SELLY OAK CONSTITUENCY
|That this House condemns the decision by the Post Office Ltd to close Wychall Road Post Office thus ignoring the recommendations of Postwatch, Birmingham City Council and the honourable Member for Birmingham Selly Oak; notes the acknowledgement from Post Office Ltd that there are no direct bus routes to the nearest alternative post office; further notes that Post Office Ltd have given no response to the suggestion that an application be submitted for assistance through the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister's Deprived Urban Post Office Fund; calls on Post Office Ltd to make the suggested application for Government subsidy and withdraw the decision to close Wychall Road Post Office; notes that no decision has yet been made on the proposed closure of Ten Acre Street and Raddlebarn Road post offices, and urges Post Office Ltd to abide by the Postwatch recommendation against their closure; accepts that there is a responsibility to ensure the viability of the post office network and that some closures are necessary to achieve this, but does not accept the scale of the closures in south Birmingham or that Post Office Ltd have made every effort to explore new commercial opportunities, which take into account not only the expansion of financial services but also new locations for post office businesses in areas poorly served if proposed closures go ahead.
|POST OFFICE CLOSURES IN SOUTH BIRMINGHAM AND TRADE AND INDUSTRY COMMITTEE INQUIRY
|That this House, whilst welcoming Post Office Ltd's decision to reverse its recommendation to close three local post offices and review two others in South West Birmingham, notes that it is still intending to close 24 others across the south of the city; further notes that serious questions have been raised about the ways in which Post Office Ltd is conducting its Urban Reinvention programme; further notes that the programme nationally is already the subject of an inquiry by the Trade nd Industry Select Committee which has not been completed; and calls on Post Office Ltd not to implement its closure decisions in respect of South Birmingham until the Select Committee has reported its findings and Ministers have had the opportunity to respond to them.
May 2004 update:
On 6 May the Birmingham Evening Mail ran a story with the headline: 'VITAL COMMUNITY LINK IS SPARED THE AXE DEFIANT' claiming that nearly half the Birmingham sub post offices threatened with closure had been spared. As I had not been officially notified of any such reprieve, I emailed Mike Dalton Midlands External Relations Manager for the Post Office to ask for details. He informed me the reports of reprieves in fact just relate to recommendations of Postwatch who wanted the Royal Mail to provide further information and rationale on 13* of the 29 proposed closures. This additional 'review' is part of an agreed process with Postwatch and is common practice throughout the UK. In addition, Mr Dalton informed me that Royal Mail was still reviewing the feedback on the other 16 proposals from MPs, Councils and customers. He also promised that Royal Mail will contact MPs immediately when they are in a position to confirm their decision (including those proposals which Postwatch haven't asked for more information on). Once I have the promised information from Royal Mail, I will post details on this website.
*Edgewood Road, Farren Road, Hillwood Road, Ladypool Road, Longbridge, Moor Pool, Raddlebarn Road, Reddings Lane, Shenley Lane, Sunbury Road, Ten Acre Street, Wychall Road and Yarningdale Road.
LOCAL PEOPLE MUST HAVE A SAY
As part of the the Post Office Urban Network Reinvention Programme, the Post Office have recently consulted on plans to close 7 sub-post offices in Selly Oak Constituency (see list below). A six week consultation period closed on 7 April. I have argued that it is vital that local people have their say and that Post Office managers take their needs into account before deciding on any closures. Though it is essential for post offices to have a long term future, every possible avenue must be explored to bring this about with a minimal number of closures - by expanding the facilities provided or considering the amalgamation of post offices with other retail outlets.
I have supported the following Parliamentary Motion initiated by Richard Burden MP:
EDM 797 09.03.04
CLOSURE OF POST OFFICES IN SOUTH BIRMINGHAM
That this House notes with concern the area plans drawn up by Post Office Ltd for constituencies across South Birmingham which propose the closure of 29 post offices in the area; believes that the plans are poorly researched, that they do not demonstrate any understanding of the needs of people in South Birmingham and that they do not attempt to identify new business opportunities for sub-post offices, simply the problems facing them; notes that the approach of Post Office Ltd falls short of that expected of it under the modernisation programme agreed with the Government and that it fails to address issues raised with Royal Mail Group by the Trade and Industry Committee and those highlighted by Early Day Motion No. 236 tabled by the honourable Member for Birmingham Northfield on 9th December 2003; further notes that Birmingham honourable Members and the Labour Leader of Birmingham City Council have also expressed concern about these proposals, as has the local media, including the Evening Mail through its 'save our post offices' campaign; and therefore calls on Post Office Ltd to rethink its closure plans, to consult local people properly and to consider alternatives which can both maintain a viable post office network and safeguard services for local people.
On learning of the closure proposals earlier this year, I met with Mike Dalton, Midlands External Relations Manager for the Post Office and Steve Taylor, Retail Manager to discuss my immediate concerns. I then made further representations after gathering information from my constituents (click here to see my submission to the consultation).
Last year, I met with postmasters and mistresses worried about the viability of the businesses they have invested in and so I realise that some closures are inevitable given the changing climate and the move towards direct payment of benefits into bank accounts. Sub-post offices are not owned by the Post Office but small businesses that receive a fee from the Post Office for the services they provide. Owners are free to shut down their business if they cannot make a decent living. The aim of the Reinvention Programme is to try and ensure any closures take place in a planned way and that investment takes place to improve provision in the remaining network. However, I am concerned about the scale of the closures, which will cause hardship to vulnerable people. Particularly at risk are elderly people and families with no access to a car. There are also concerns about the viability of local shopping centres where the post office is often the anchor for other shops.
Prior to the end of the consultation, I was anxious to hear from any constituent adversely affected by the closures and devised a feedback questionnaire to gather information to assist me in the submission I would make. Labour councillors and party members were also out in the community gathering information from local people.
I urge everyone who values their local post office to use the facilities there - particularly by opening post office card accounts or using the convenient banking facilities that post offices now provide on befalf of many other banks.
For details of the responses I received to my Post Office Questionnaire and my submission to Royal Mail consultation: click here
On 15 June, I was informed by Post Office Ltd. that they had decided, following the consultation to close the following branches: Bournville, Redditch Road, Stirchley, Weoley Avenue and Wychall Road. They stated that they were still considering feedback on Raddlebarn Raod and Ten Acre Street. Sadly I'm afraid that there is little more I can do to try and prevent these closures. For details of the nearest alternative branches, click on the name below:
Ten Acre Street
BOURNVILLE SPSO, 35 SYCAMORE ROAD, BIRMINGHAM, B30 2AA
0.7 miles: SELLY OAK MSPO, 8 OAK TREE LANE, BIRMINGHAM, B29 6HX
0.9 miles: COTTERIDGE FPO, 32 WATFORD ROAD, BIRMINGHAM, B30 1JA
RADDLEBARN ROAD SPSO, 96 RADDLEBARN ROAD, BIRMINGHAM, B29 6HH
0.7 miles: SELLY OAK MSPO, 8 OAK TREE LANE, BIRMINGHAM, B29 6HX
0.8 miles: BOURNBROOK SPSO, 515 BRISTOL ROAD, SELLY OAK, BIRMINGHAM, B29 6AU
STIRCHLEY SPSO, 1533 PERSHORE ROAD, BIRMINGHAM, B30 2JH
0.7 miles: COTTERIDGE FPO, 32 WATFORD ROAD, BIRMINGHAM, B30 1JA
1.1 miles: VICARAGE ROAD SPSO, 276 VICARAGE ROAD, KINGS HEATH, BIRMINGHAM, B14 7NH
TEN ACRE STREET SPSO, 3 DOGPOOL LANE, SELLY PARK, BIRMINGHAM, B30 2XN
1.3 miles: BOURNBROOK SPSO, 515 BRISTOL ROAD, SELLY OAK, BIRMINGHAM, B29 6AU
1.3 miles: KINGS HEATH BO, 6/8 ALCESTER ROAD SOUTH, BIRMINGHAM, B14 7JS
WEOLEY AVENUE SPSO, 189 WEOLEY AVENUE, BIRMINGHAM, B29 6PU
0.9 miles: WEOLEY CASTLE SPSO, 114 CASTLE SQUARE, BIRMINGHAM, B29 5PT
1.2 miles: SELLY OAK MSPO, 8 OAK TREE LANE, BIRMINGHAM, B29 6HX
REDDITCH ROAD SPSO, 391 REDDITCH ROAD, KINGS NORTON, BIRMINGHAM, B38 8ND
1 mile: WEST HEATH SPSO, 27 ALVECHURCH ROAD, BIRMINGHAM, B31 3JW
0.8 miles: HAWKESLEY SPSO, 12/14 HAWKESLEY SQUARE, BIRMINGHAM, B38 9TU
WYCHALL ROAD SPSO, 202 WYCHALL ROAD, BIRMINGHAM, WEST MIDLANDS, B31 3AU
0.6 miles: MIDDLEMORE ROAD , BIRMINGHAM, B31 3UP
1.2 miles: WEST HEATH SPSO, 27 ALVECHURCH ROAD, BIRMINGHAM, B31 3JW
1.5 miles: NORTHFIELD BO, 773 BRISTOL ROAD SOUTH, BIRMINGHAM, B31 2NH
click here for press release on this issue