The Labour Party’s acclaimed manifesto “For the Many not the Few” contained the pledge to end the closure of Crown Post Office branches and reverse Royal Mail privatisation. The Financial Times published a useful summary here.
Over many months I have been campaigning for a joined up approach to Crown Post Office closures in Lewisham.
A motion agreed by the full Council opposed the closure of New Cross Crown Post Office in February 2017 and stated that closures would lead to the loss of over 400 job nationwide, and they follow the announcement of 62 planned closures in 2016. It went on to say that independent research shows that franchised Post Offices offer poorer disabled access, longer queuing times, worse customer service and fewer staff, often on minimum wage.
In the political debate there was no reference to Sydenham Crown Post Office and the fact that it was under threat too.
I raised this with the Chair of the Sustainable Communities Select Committee, Councillor Liam Curran and this was discussed at the committee and the members resolved to oppose the closure of Sydenham Crown Post Office too. The Committee agreed:
- The Mayor write to the government minister responsible and the Chief
Executive of the Post Office about the potential loss of Sydenham Crown
- Officers be tasked with investigating how lease arrangements might be
negotiated to retain the Crown Post Office in Sydenham
- The Council requests further information from the Post Office about its
strategy to preserve the full range of Post Office services for Lewisham
I felt that important to have a joined up approach across the London Borough of Lewisham and the Council now has a consistent position to oppose Crown Post Office closures.
The response to the Sustainable Development Committee is that the Post Office occupy the ground floor of 44 Sydenham Road, currently holding over on the terms of their existing lease which expired in June 2015. Officers in the Regeneration and Place Division are currently in negotiations with the Post Office to renew this lease. Any major changes away from the terms of existing lease, in particular proposals to restrict the use of the property (i.e. a requirement for use as only a Crown Post Office) would need
to be agreed with the Post Office.
I will pursue this with the Council and make sure that retention of the Crown Post Offices in New Cross and Sydenham are a priority for Lewisham Council.
Councillor Alan Hall said: “It is important that in Lewisham we try and apply the principles and policies in the Labour Party’s manifesto. I oppose the privatisation of the Royal Mail and this should be reversed. There should be an end to Crown Post Office closures. I will do everything I can to defend our postal services”