Uckfield Post Office ‘must stay’ residents say

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In spite of a so-called ‘consultation’, Uckfield’s existing stand-alone Post Office is almost certainly set to close.

Former Uckfield town councillor and chair of the town’s Festival Committee, Dorothy Sparks attended a meeting on June 5 in the Civic Centre regarding the potential closure of the Crown Post Office.

The meeting focused on the likelihood the Post Office would be replaced by a franchise in a shop or similar retail outlet.

She said: “There were two representatives from Post Office Counters at the meeting and two representatives from the Post Office Union. We learnt that 70 Crown Post Offices are to close because ythey are ‘uneconomic’, including Uckfield.

“There was a lot of talk about consultation but it turned out, on being questioned, that the consultation only applies to where a new Post Office counter would be sited, and whether the public and local businesses thought it a suitable place. There was absolutely no consultation about the Crown Office being closed. That appears to be a done deal.”

Dorothy went on to say that regarding the profitability of Uckfield, the Post Office Counters’ spokesman stated that for every £1 spent it cost £1.62 to service the transation. The Union representative came back to say that the £1.62 was the average figure of the 70 Crown offices, not specific to Uckfield.

The figures for Uckfield he had been given were that for every £1 spent, the cost was £1.01. “Quite a difference. And with accounting errors, Uckfield could even be in the black.”

Dorothy continued: “We were told that the only way that we can stop the closure of the Crown Post Office is to apply to our MP, Charles Hendry, and ask him to intervene with the minister in charge, Jo Swinson MP, Minister for Competition.

“So far, 5,000 people have signed a petition - representing over a third of the town’s adult population - opposing the closure of Uckfield’s Crown Post Office.”

She urges everyone with a view to express to write to Charles Hendry MP at the House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA or email him at: charles.hendry.mp@parliament.uk as soon as possible if they wish to retain the existing Post Office.

Former CWU secretary Paul Carpenter fears jobs could be lost and businesses suffer if the Post Office is forced to move. He said: “People say it won’t change. Believe me, it will. The shape of the town will change and any configuration in a shop such as WH Smith will make access harder for older residents.”