Proposed closure of Post Office, Bermondsey Street

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Monday 2 August 2004 8.38am
I'm rather surprised there's been no discussion of this issue -- apologies if it's buried in the Royal Mail thread and I've missed it.

The Post Office at 94 Bermondsey Street is earmarked for closure in November of this year. There is an address you can write to make your feelings known: it's on the front door of the Post Office and on the public board on the Tanner Street park. If I remember to take a pen and paper with me I'll copy it later and post it here, or perhaps some other kind bod could link us to the website ...
Monday 2 August 2004 8.55am
the one in Abbey Street is also marked for closure and should also be included in any protest as it will mean no local post office at all in that area
Monday 2 August 2004 10.35am
Crumbs. The closure of rural post offices. Shocking. Isn't the Countryside Alliance campaigning about this?
Monday 2 August 2004 10.56am
Story from the South London Press - July 23 2004

SOS to stop post offices closing

"Post office users at 12 branches across South London have less than eight weeks to save their services. This follows yesterday's announcement by Post Office Ltd that its swingeing "network reinvention" programme will leave the axe hanging over branches in Southwark and Lambeth."

There is a consultation period for the potential closures, which runs out on September 15. If you wish to oppose the proposals, write to: National Consultation Team, PO Box 2060, Watford, WD18 8ZW.

The branches targeted are:
NORTH SOUTHWARK & BERMONDSEY: 105 Abbey Street, 94 Bermondsey Street; DULWICH & WEST NORWOOD: 228 Crystal Palace Road, 270 Rosendale Road, relocation of Herne Hill branch from 134 Herne Hill to 31 Norwood Road; STREATHAM: 214 Brixton Hill, 330 Streatham High Road, 129 Streatham Vale, 37 Tulse Hill; VAUXHALL: 10 Clapham Road, 182 Coldharbour Lane, 150 Loughborough Road, 43 South Lambeth Road.

Dr Alan Burnett, from Help The Aged, said: "There is a lot of resentment and dismay about these closures. Familiarity is very important for pensioners when they go to their local post office. They are an important social centre, too. It may be all right for the Post Office to plot their revised network on a map, but it's equally important that they realise the new journeys people will have to make."

Mapmaker

Maybe if you had a greater ability to empathise with your neighbours who are older and less mobile than yourself, fewer people would make assumptions that you believe "there is no such thing as society"?





Edited 3 times. Last edit at 2 August 2004 2.17pm by Lang Rabbie.
Monday 2 August 2004 11.01am
the nearest one will then be the Borough which is awkward to get into as has steps outside and in it at least the one in Abbey street is on one level for disabled and pushchair access. There is always a queue outside in the mornings so is well used-the one at the Borough you already have big queues in already this would make it a lot worse!
Monday 2 August 2004 11.24am
>Maybe if you had a greater ability to empathise with your neighbours who are older and less mobile than yourself, fewer people would make assumptions that you believe "there is no such thing as society"?

Oh dear. I should have put a TFIC at the end of that. If you think 'Bermondsey village' etc. then you might be more in tune.

I should greatly miss Abbey St PO if it were to close & am writing.

Monday 2 August 2004 11.45am
It seems very short-sighted to me. The poster at the post office says there are falling numers of users at these post office branches. In my letter to the national consultation team I mentioned the hundreds of new families and scores of new businesses moving to the area over the next 18 months in developments like City Walk, The Hub, Colourhouse, Bermondsey Square and the other new developments on Weston, Tanner and Bermondsey Streets. One would have thought that they would upgrade the Bermondsey Street post office. Instead, they'll manage to create a bottle neck at the current branches which have to serve not only the people and businesses they currently serve but hundreds of displaced people and businesses who will have to use the suggested branches. We can look forward to longer walks, more car trips and longer queues. What a brilliant idea.

Eric
Monday 2 August 2004 12.41pm
I live near Bermondsey Street -- I had no idea the one on Abbey Street was being threatened as well. Cripes.

The one on Bermondsey Street has a perpetual queue. The thing I've always been appalled about is that the obvious damp problem on the floor has never been fixed. Poor John. It does stink in there -- it feels like you're risking your health, standing in that queue.

That's always been my gripe, for such a busy, if small, Post Office.

It must stay open. And get some new carpet.

Thanks for the information about the consultation process.



Edited 1 times. Last edit at 2 August 2004 12.43pm by Samuel.
Monday 2 August 2004 5.25pm
I would argue that urban post office closures are part of a necessary but painful way to restructure the urban network so that is sustainable.

I shall explain myself a bit more below.

Necessary & Sustainable - Post offices have two problems 1. the traditional transactions they carry out - stamps - are high volume low paid ones and in the modern age with staff costs etc they are more suited to automated means 2. the number of transactions which are their bread and butter - benefits and pension payments - is falling as people switch to automated means. Also for many years post offices produced a reliable income and small businessmen bought them. These small businessmen are now stuck with an unsaleable asset that should have been their pension when they sold it. Hence the lack of repairs to post offices - the poor guy running it can't afford it. Post offices need to grow high value transactions, e.g. bureau de change and insurance. At the same time, as other transactions fall, the number of branches needs to shrink.

Painful - we are used to post offices being convenient, but we are going to have to get used to them being like banks and supermarkets. People may need to travel to get there. So the poorest and the most vulnerable in society - for whom a po is a lifeline, not just convenient - may suffer - they may have to travel more - but equally they may find there is still a PO near a place where they go anyway such as the bank or the supermarket. But without change some subpostmasters will go bust and some offices will close anyway. And that is one good part of this: the poor guys currently running post offices will be compensated for the businesses they bought and which they cannot now sell. Another attitude change is people have to start recognising that pos are a business, they are not a public service. We have seen them that way - but even Mrs Goggins was a small businesswoman.

So urban closures are the market in action, but Post Office Ltd is trying to moderate the market to reduce its impact on subpostmasters and customers

Declaring my interest - that's my memory of the position from when I worked on this area for the Govt.

So if you want to protest, saying "I will be inconvenienced" is not enough. You need to demonstrate that you or someone you know will find it impossible or seriously difficult to get to another PO. Talk about the route they will have to take involving crossing busy roads without easy crossing points etc. For the reasons above, you will need to make an exceptional case. You cannot just say it is the centre of the community and people will suffer. If all else fails get a celebrity on your side

Finally, ask yourself a question - how often do I use my local post office? Are you part of the problem, going in once a year to get your car tax and moaning about the queue? Go in there more often and get your foreign currency, use it for banking etc. The oft quoted campaign slogan for POs is "use it or lose it". New families and new businesses often do not use their local post office frequently enough to improve its sustainability.

David
Monday 2 August 2004 9.29pm
>>>>Finally, ask yourself a question - how often do I use my local post office? Are you part of the problem, going in once a year to get your car tax and moaning about the queue? Go in there more often and get your foreign currency, use it for banking etc. The oft quoted campaign slogan for POs is "use it or lose it". >>>>

When I go to the Post Office to buy stamps/currency, to send parcels and weighing for correct postage, passport etc there is ALWAYS a queue. Surely if there is always a queue then it must mean we need more Offices or at least more staff. People see the queues and walk out - FACT!
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