Community chairman vows to fight on for Hornchurch Post Office

PUBLISHED: 10:30 11 April 2017

Reassurances made by a director at the Post Office have been rejected by the chairman of a community group campaigning against crown office closures in the borough.

Bob Perry chairman of Hornchurch And Upminster Conservatives has been campaigning since the company announced it would close 37 flagship crown offices affecting branches in High Street, Hornchurch, and Collier Row Road, Collier Row in January.

He has gained around 1,300 signatures calling for the Post Office plans to be called off.

“The fact that a franchisee is being sourced in the area is by no means satisfactory, as the service they will provide will not replace the services of a Crown Post Office,” he said.

Roger Gale, the company’s sales and trade marketing director, tried to reassure customers last week that a franchise, providing similar services offered by the current Hornchurch branch, would be sought.

“We’re planning for the same, wide range of services to be available and to ensure that they are accessible for all our customers, including elderly people and those with disabilities or mobility issues,” he said.

But Mr Perry remained unconvinced.

“Look what happened in Romford some years ago, the Post Office was closed and after a disastrous stint with one retailer, ended up being put in an upstairs department of another.

“Even though there is a lift for wheelchair users and people with mobility issues, it is small in capacity and is very frustrating for those who need to use it.

“How can that be considered a satisfactory replacement.”

Speaking last week, Mr Gale said that the change was needed as the current branch was not sustainable.

But the chairman continued: “I invite Mr Gale to meet with me outside the branch in the High Street and watch the people queuing to use its services, then engage with local residents as they exit after a prolonged wait for services and discuss openly the unsustainable characteristics of a crown Post Office.

“Then attempt to argue the merits of a franchisee.

“The response by local people signing our petition and urging us to fight on has been overwhelming.

“Our office has been inundated with replies that are still coming in on a daily basis, not to mention those to turn up to express their views personally.”

A spokeswoman for the Post Office added the Collier Row branch is in a similar position and plans were also for the continuation of similar services via a retail partner.

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