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East Riding of Yorkshire Council shows unanimous support for Beverley Crown Post Office

November 25, 2018 12:20 PM
By admin

East Riding of Yorkshire Council voted unanimously on Wednesday to explore all avenues to keep Beverley Crown Post Office open at Register Square. Post Office bosses are about to embark upon a 6 week consultation period on relocating Beverley Post Office to the WHSmith branch in Toll Gavel, and the issue was raised in a motion to the full council put forward by Beverley ward councillors.

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Cllr Denis Healy was one of those who spoke in favour of the motion which was carried unanimously by all Councillors at the meeting. The full text of Cllr Healy’s speech is below:

As a ward councilor in Beverley, I support this motion, because closing Beverley’s Crown Post office is something that local residents feel very a deep sense of outrage about, and they are making their voices heard.

It was around 8.45am on 10th October that a senior manager from Post Office Ltd visited the Beverley Crown Post Office, which is of course, situated just the other side of these windows. He informed the local manager of the intention to relocate to the WHSmith store, at some undetermined date in 2019, and said that no jobs could be guaranteed, and that there would be a 6 week consultation process. The senior manager then left, and having dropped his bombshell, the staff put on a brave face of opening for business at 9am.

Needless to say, customers that morning picked up on the staff’s somber mood, conversations took place, and by mid afternoon, social media was alive with the news; most people were just incredulous that a busy post office, so busy that queues are a regular occurrence, was going to be shunted to a cramped WHSmith store.

The following morning I met with the local post office manager to hear for myself about what was happening, I spoke to Council officers and ascertained that no-one here had received any notification of it, although a letter from Post Office Ltd was subsequently received by the Council.

People simply don’t want this to happen. The local manager confirmed that Beverley Post Office is a profitable unit, it has footfall way above the average, and at certain times, people are queuing out of the doors for the services they depend on.

I am very concerned at a policy whereby a state owned asset is being franchised to an ailing high street retailer. WHSmith have made no secret of the fact that they are shifting their investment focus away from the UK High Street and are concentrating instead on their ‘travel’ business at airports, motorways and train stations where they can sell their products at higher prices.

So the government are giving them a helping hand in their high street business by bringing post offices customers who can buy a bag of Werther’s original on the way out. It’s like selling off the family silver to help a retailer that isn’t even committed to a market that it operates in.

All that I could really offer the manager was a willingness to campaign against the closure, to raise awareness and to apply as much people pressure as possible.

That weekend I was in the Town centre with my petition and again the following weekend. That petition now has 2000 signatures, and I welcome the fact that the Labour and Conservative parties are also engaging with the public with collecting signatures. This is an issue which we all care about and is above party politics.

I have been in touch with our MP, Graham Stuart, who is also astonished by this proposal to move to WHSmith, and has told me that he has raised this matter with the relevant minister. He has also welcomed the fact that we are giving people the opportunity to have their voices heard, and like me, says he “will take a lot of convincing to accept that we can have as good a service in WHSmith as we currently have in the main Post Office given its importance to the town.�

Finally I would urge members to support the motion. Having the East Riding of Yorkshire Council unanimously behind a motion in support of our Crown Post Office at its current building sends a strong message to the Post Office and to ministers during this consultation period, and means that we are truly reflecting the views of our residents in this town.