Hundreds of people have signed a petition to stop the franchising of Lewes Post Office.
Last week, Post Office Ltd announced plans to make changes to 42 of its 314 directly-run Crown post office branches, providing franchised services for 39 branches, and closing three.
Lewes Post Office is one of the 39 branches the Post Office is hoping to rehome after it finds a suitable retail partner to work with.
A petition has since been set up in the hope of preventing the closure of the High Street branch, with more than 600 people signing it in the space of a few days.
The petition states: “Lewes Post Office is under threat.
“On January 19, Post Office Ltd announced plans to franchise 39 of its branches, and close three.
“Lewes Post Office is on the list of those to be franchised once a suitable retailer is found. This franchising is not for our benefit.
“Lewes is a busy Post Office. Customers will be all too clearly aware of the queues frequently experienced at peak times.
“Basically, the Post Office wants to sell the valuable Victorian building that our branch is housed in.
“Putting it into a local shop will lead to longer queues, less services offered, and an all round inferior service, which will affect businesses and individual customers.
“Anyone who has visited Ringmer Post Office will be aware of this kind of service.
“Our Post Office has been on the same site for over 100 years. We have to stop this move.”
Roger Gale, Post Office’s general manager of the Crown network, said: “In some locations, directly-run Crown Post Office branches work well but in others there are alternatives, such as franchising, which can work better for the business and its customers, not just in terms of access to Post Office services but also in relation to long-term viability.
“We need to continue to make changes to strengthen the Crown network and we have today announced that we are seeking suitable potential retail partners to work with us on providing franchised services for 39 branches, and we are proposing to close three branches in areas where it is no longer viable to keep a Crown branch.
“Losses in the network of Crown post office branches have been successfully reduced from £46million a year in 2011/12 and, overall, this part of the network is now breaking even.
“But with high property costs and restricted growth opportunities in some locations, some Crown branches will not be able to make money.
“We must address this and, like any High Street retailer, we have to continue to adapt to customer demands, which our network must reflect. We cannot look to the taxpayer to subsidise Crown branches that lose money.
“Throughout the changes, we will be consulting with and supporting the 400 employees affected and there will be consultations held with local customers when detailed plans are drawn up.”
To view the original story, click here.
To view the petition, click here.
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