Post Office pledges permanent presence in South Woodford as current site to close in April

MP Iain Duncan Smith and South Woodford councillors Sue Nolan and Michael Duffell got the post office to commit to having...

MP Iain Duncan Smith and South Woodford councillors Sue Nolan and Michael Duffell got the post office to commit to having a permanent presence in South Woodford after it was announced that the current branch will close in April. - Credit: Iain Duncan Smith

The Post Office has committed to having a permanent presence in South Woodford following a public outcry over the planned closure of the branch in George Lane in April.

Iain Duncan Smith MP for Chingford and Woodford Green held a public Facebook Live Q&A last week with the postmaster effectiveness director Tracy Marshall, after it was announced that the branch was set to close. There are plans to build on the site.

At the meeting Ms Marshall committed to rent temporary premises to provide a presence in the area after the crown post office closes in April. The Post Office will look for a permanent partner to run a franchise branch in South Woodford.

The Post Office in George Lane, South Woodford.

The current crown post office in George Lane is set to close in April but there are plans to open a temporary branch in an existing franchise in an existing retailer. - Credit: Archant

Mr Duncan Smith said he was pleased with the news after campaigning over a number of years with residents and Conservative councillors Michael Duffell and Sue Nolan to protect postal services.

He added: "We will continue to press the Post Office to keep to their commitments to retain postal services in this area which are an essential part of the local community, particularly for our elderly and infirm residents.”

Cllr Nolan and Cllr Duffell said they were thrilled at the news but they would not stop applying pressure.

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Cllr Duffell said: "A commitment is one thing, but they need to deliver."

Clive Tickner from the Communication Workers Union said after more than 2,700 people signed the petition to keep the crown post office open it represented the groundswell of support behind the issue.

He said while he welcomed the news of the commitment to having a post office presence in South Woodford in the future, a franchise branch wasn't sufficient.

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He told the Recorder: "Our view is we need to keep the crown open.  A franchise doesn't come close to serving the community in the way a full crown post office does."

A spokesperson for the Post Office said: "We are committed to a permanent post office in South Woodford and our property team are on the ground talking to existing retailers about this. 

"We are also aware that this might take some time as we don’t want to leave local residents without any post office services so we are also looking at how we might put temporary services in place too." 

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