Thursday, 6 December 2012

The Fight Still Continues

Earlier this week, representatives from Southend Council met with Royal Mail to discuss the proposed closure of the Shoeburyness and Leigh Delivery Offices. Below is a press release issued by the council following the talks:

Southend-on-Sea Borough Council is appalled at Royal Mail’s decision to shut five of its sorting offices in south east Essex without bothering to consider the views of local residents.

Chief Executive Rob Tinlin wrote to Royal Mail in October requesting an urgent meeting after it announced plans to close the sorting offices in Leigh, Shoebury, Canewdon, Great Wakering and Rochford.

The meeting was arranged for the Civic Centre this morning and attended by Mr Tinlin and the leaders of all four political groups on the Council.

They had planned to discuss their united opposition to the closures with a senior member of Royal Mail’s management team and talk about possible alternative solutions.

But instead two members of staff without the authority to make decisions or alter the proposals were sent to inform them Royal Mail was publicly announcing the closures tomorrow (Dec 6).

Council Leader Nigel Holdcroft said: “I am quite appalled and shocked by Royal Mail’s behaviour with regards to this matter, which has the horrible feel of a stitch-up about it.

“Royal Mail announced in October that it intended closing the sorting offices and consolidating all its sorting office functions at its Short Street base in Southend.

"It appears to have taken absolutely no account of the affect this would have on the four communities concerned, let alone the logistical difficulties it would cause in Short Street".

Royal Mail has previously objected to Tesco’s plans to build a new superstore in Short Street on the grounds that it would be likely to cause traffic disruption in the area.

But it plans to centralise all of its sorting office activity without making any extra provision for customer parking at Short Street, where reorganisation plans have still to be finalised.

The Council wrote to Royal Mail’s Chief Executive Noreen Perry requesting an urgent meeting to enable it to discuss its concerns about the planned sorting office closures.

In her reply she wrote: “No decision has yet been made. We are still exploring our options, but expect to be able to share more information in the near future".

Cllr Holdcroft added: “At the meeting today myself, the other three group leaders and Rob expected a senior Royal Mail official to attend to listen to our concerns.

“Instead two representatives without the authority to make alterations to the current proposals were sent to tell us the closures would be publicly announced the very next day and that Royal Mail had no obligation to consult with anyone over them.”

Whilst the news is disappointing the fight still goes on. On the 13th December, I have put a motion to the Full Council supported by colleagues Roger Hadley and Mark Flewitt calling on Royal Mail to reverse their decision to close the Shoebury and Leigh office's. There is still time to add your voice by signing the petition here.

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