Calls for boycott of Lewes town centre shop

Demo march against Lewes Post Office closure SUS-160603-155636008
Demo march against Lewes Post Office closure SUS-160603-155636008

Residents campaigning against the closure of Lewes Post Office are calling for a boycott of WHSmith after unconfirmed reports the retailer has agreed to franchise the service.

The calls, by campaign group Save Lewes Post Office, come after Post Office Ltd announced plans to franchise the Lewes branch back in January this year.

Earlier this month, there were rumours WHSmith would take over the franchise – moving post office services into its Lewes Store.

In response, members of the campaign group, who say the closure will only go ahead if an alternative franchise can be found, are calling for a boycott of WHSmith, starting on Saturday (March 26) and continuing all week.

The group are looking for volunteers to stand outside the retailer’s store in Cliffe Precinct and persuade people to shop elsewhere.

Campaigners have also written to other local businesses urging them not to take on the post office franchise or face a boycott.

In a letter sent to business owners, campaign member Nick Tigg said: “We are now planning the next part of our campaign. This will include encouraging members of the public to boycott any businesses that apply for the franchise. This boycott will begin as soon as the franchise is announced. A boycott will inevitably lead to reduced takings at these outlets.

“And it may also be worth bearing in mind that the Post Office has recently increased the amount of commission it demands from its franchises, making the arrangement less profitable than in the past.”

In his letter, Mr Tigg mentions other boycotts held in the town in recent years, including that of the Lewes Arms pub after it stopped selling beer supplied by Harvey’s brewery .

Mr Tigg claims the boycott, which lasted for nearly a year, saw the pub’s trade fall by nearly 90 per cent.

WHSmith has been contacted for a comment but has not yet provided a response.

A petition calling for Post Office Ltd to halt the closure of its Lewes branch has gathered more than 3,000 signatures.

Residents say they fear the decision would ‘lead to longer queues, less services offered, and an all round inferior service, which will affect businesses and individuals’.

Earlier this month, hundreds attended a protest on Lewes High Street.

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