IslingtonTribune

The independent London newspaper

Old Street post office WILL close down

Fury as consultation survey and campaign to save branch are ‘ignored’

01 November, 2019 — By Calum Fraser

The Crown Post Office in Old Street

ONE of the last Crown Post Offices in Islington is to close despite fierce opposition from locals, it was announced this week, sparking fury from unions.

The Old Street post office will close at the end of the year after it was deemed by bosses that services could be “improved” by moving it to the back of a Co-operative shop down the road.

Union representatives and ward councillors have vehemently opposed the move, warning that it will harm the “elderly and the vulnerable” who rely on skilled staff to help them collect their pensions and other services.

Clive Tickner, the north London area representative for the Communications Workers Union (CWU), said: “We just think closing the post office will be a disaster for the community.

“The service will not be anywhere near as good. Almost all the staff are leaving, which is a tragedy and so the service will not be as good.”

A six-week consultation was run by the Post Office and it is understood that 49 people responded.

Respondents raised concerns about the “rationale” for moving and the standard of customer service in the new venue.

A petition run by the CWU opposing the planned closure received more than 500 signatures.

Mr Tickner said: “I think the consultation is a sham. It was more of a box-ticking exercise than anything else and it is rigged.”

Once the Old Street office closes, the last Crown Post Office in Islington will be in Upper Street.

Mr Tickner added: “They do not ask the question of whether people want the closure or not.”

All of the services will be available in the franchised branch apart from DVLA Photocard Driving Licence renewal and Security Industry Authority (SIA) licence application services and a cash machine.

As the Tribune previously reported, franchised post offices often pay employees below the London Living Wage.

The date for the move has been set for January 30.

Bunhill ward councillor Phil Graham said: “We’re devastated that they’ve ignored what the local residents want and need. We will not be giving up on our campaign though and will be stepping things up in the coming weeks.”

A Post Office spokesman said this week: “When it comes to consultations, it’s not about the quantity of feedback we receive, it’s about the specific issues that are raised and whether these will have a genuine impact on our customers and the community.”

He added: “We listen very carefully to our customers’ feedback during the consultation process and consider each individual branch on a case by case basis. We believe that moving the branch to the Co-op is the right decision in order to sustain Post Office services in the area – not just in the short term, but for the long term too.”

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