Anger from Council at new post office hit list

as five more local post offices under threat


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The council's deputy leader Maurice Heaster has reacted with dismay at fresh proposals to close five more post offices in the borough.

Post Office chiefs are planning to close three post office branches in Tooting, one at Wandsworth Common and one more in Southfields.

The new hit list comes on top of the closure of seven local post offices since March last year. Across the country as a whole an estimated 3,000 urban post offices are under threat.

The five post offices now facing closure are at:

  • 2a Montfort Place, Southfields
  • 812 Garratt Lane, Tooting
  • 103 Mitcham Road, Tooting
  • 80 Moyser Road, Tooting
  • 3 Bellevue Road, Wandsworth Common

There are growing fears that additional branches in the borough are also earmarked for closure but these proposals have not yet been published by the Post Office.

The council is strongly opposed to the closure programme because the impact falls most heavily on pensioners, young mothers and others who have difficulty getting around. In some cases the loss of a sub-post office could result in other shops closing as they are often the mainstay of local shopping parades.

The Post Office has now launched a six week consultation exercise over the closures, which has been dismissed as "meaningless" by Cllr Heaster.

He said: "This consultation is totally meaningless. It is simply six weeks prior warning that these branches are to be shut down. The Post Office has never disguised its intention to close 30 per cent of all its branches regardless of what people think. It never listens to objections but presses ahead without any concern for the impact on local people.

"In Wandsworth, we have already seen the loss of seven local post offices, despite overwhelming opposition from all quarters. Now we face losing five more, and I for one do not believe for a second that a tidal wave of opposition will make the Post Office think again.

"The loss of local post offices is devastating for elderly people and others who find it difficult to get to other branches. Where these are sited in small local parades there is also a real risk that other shops could go. We have already seen a noticeable impact on customers from last year's wave of closures. Queues in main town centre branches are now significantly longer and as a result customers are receiving a worse service.

"We have also seen evidence that elderly customers and others with limited mobility have been badly affected. A survey carried by industry watchdog Postwatch found that the pensioners in particular have had to alter their behaviour and are now able to visit the post office less frequently than they would like.

"We need a commitment from the Post Office to allow proper and meaningful consultation on closure plans and the chance to develop alternative approaches."

The seven post offices closed locally in the last 14 months were at 30 Upper Richmond Road, Putney; 395 Tildesley Road, Putney; 18 Revelstoke Road, Southfields; 45 Bedford Hill, Balham; 283 Battersea Park Road, Battersea; 19 Barmouth Road, Wandsworth and 57 Nightingale Lane, Balham.

May 11, 2004