MP's hope for post offices

ROYAL Mail bosses proposing to axe the Fore Street post office may not have known full details about nearby Waterfront and University developments it emerged today.

ROYAL Mail bosses proposing to axe the Fore Street post office may not have known full details about nearby Waterfront and University developments it emerged today.

Ipswich MP Chris Mole is holding out hope for both Fore Street and the threatened post office in London Road after talks with bosses revealed they did not know some of the details about the areas.

It can also be revealed that officials were also under the impression that London Road post office was in an affluent area of town - not somewhere with significant deprivation problems - simply because a high proportion of homes have cars.

Mr Mole said: “The post office has done some quite detailed analysis before coming out with the list, but it emerged during my talks that there were some significant gaps in their knowledge of these two premises.

“The officials I spoke to were not aware of the massive developments that were going on around Fore Street and did not know that UCS was being developed almost next to it.

“They had done some initial consultation with the borough council, but apparently they had not been told about those developments which seems a bit odd.”

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Well over 5,000 new homes are currently under construction or have been approved on the eastern side of the Waterfront - and for those Fore Street would be the nearest post office.

And work on the first building for UCS is now well under way with an entrance on to Fore Street.

The university will eventually have about 3,500 students with thousands more at the nearby Suffolk New College.

Ipswich council deputy leader John Carnall said: “We had a meeting with the official watchdog Postcom about the closures, but we were not told which post offices were under threat.

“If we had known there was any danger to the Fore Street office we would have made the point about all the development around there - that decision seems absolutely ridiculous.”

Mr Mole said Royal Mail officials had also been under the impression that the London Road post office is in an affluent part of the town - not an area with significant deprivation problems.

He said: “

Mr Mole said: “The post office got data about car ownership from the DVLA. I really don't know why it should be high in that part of the town - but anyone who knows London Road realises that is not an affluent area and I am making that point to the post office.”

He could not say whether the new information he had given the officials would persuade them to retain the two post offices, but felt they would at least get a fresh look.

A spokesman for the Royal Mail said: "A huge amount of research has gone into the development of the area plan proposals before they go to public consultation.

“This involves liaising with local authorities and other organisations on gathering information on key developments in areas like Fore Street, which would have been taken into account.

“However, it should be emphasised that these are still proposals, designed to meet the Government's access criteria, and the public consultations are an opportunity for people to give their comments and feedback before any final decisions are made."

There is now a six-week consultation period before the final closure of the post offices is concerned. Communities will know whether their office is being closed or retained during the week of November 19.

If you want to let the Post Office know what you think, visit www.postoffice.co.uk/networkchange or write to Post Office Ltd at Freepost Consultation (no stamp required) or e-mail consultation@postoffice.co.uk

How should people fight for their post offices? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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