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View from the House: Post offices essential part of high street

PUBLISHED: 08:00 12 November 2017

Archant

On October 31 I organised a debate in parliament, calling on the Post Office to reconsider proposals to close the Crown branch in South Woodford after the announcement of its closure earlier this year.

Two days before my debate I met senior Post Office executives in parliament to insist that they halt the proposal and think again.

Having previously opposed the closure of Woodford post office on the High Road in 2008, the Post Office promised me that the Crown branch in George Lane could take the extra trade. Less than 10 years later, it has reneged on that guarantee and will leave the whole area without a post office if it continues with its proposals. I find myself along with the local community campaigning again, and reminded MPs of a petition of over 2,000 signatures that was sent to the Post Office’s public consultation, along with the best efforts of representatives of the Communication Workers Union to oppose the closure.

Post offices are part of the chain of essential elements in a high street which, bit by bit, are being removed. The post office brings people into the community, the high street will therefore suffer as a result of the closures.

I do not understand why the Post Office is not making more of banking, financial services and other areas – particularly given that it is a trusted presence on the high street while most conventional banks have sunk in the public’s estimation. In summary of my debate, I called on the service to increase the banking options at the post office by expanding its services; thus ensuring its long-term standing on the high street.

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