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Hornchurch community rally campaign against Post Office cuts

PUBLISHED: 15:56 01 February 2017 | UPDATED: 16:01 01 February 2017

Hornchurch and Collier Row branches in the list to close and franchise. Picture: PA.

Hornchurch and Collier Row branches in the list to close and franchise. Picture: PA.

Archant

Members of the community were out in force on Saturday to campaign against a cost-cutting measure that will affect a post office.

The Post Office in High Street Hornchurch is one of 37 flagship crown offices – large branches often found on high streets – that is earmarked to be franchised.

Hornchurch and Upminster Conservative Association chairman, Bob Perry said franchising the branch would not suit the community’s needs.

He said: “This is a vital service to local residents and a lifeline to many of our elderly people in the area who don’t have access to online services.”

A spokeswoman for the Post Office added: “We are looking for a potential retail partner who is interested in operating a Post Office near to the current site, so that we can provide customers with the same services on a sustainable basis, keeping our services conveniently available to customers for years to come.”

But Mr Perry continued: “[Elderly] people would be forced to travel to smaller ill-equipped franchises in Romford or Upminster and be unable to cope with the demand put on them.

“On behalf of our residents we simply will not allow this to happen and will fight tooth and nail to overturn this badly thought out decision.”

Joined by London Assembly Member Cllr Keith Prince, Mr Perry collected 710 signatures.

“It’s not enough,” he continued.

“I would urge elected councillors and residents, regardless of political persuasion, to join us by supporting our campaign to save our Post Office.”

The spokeswoman added that some directly managed branches, are not sustainable because or rising property costs and changing consumer needs.

There are around 11,600 branches in the UK and the majority already run on a francised or agency basis.

Less than 300, including the Hornchurch branch, are “stand alone” directly managed branches.

“We know it is important to people that Post Office services are kept on high streets and franchising is a way of doing so,” continued the spokeswoman.

“There are no detailed plans yet. We will explore registered interest and when there are detailed plans, these will be subject to a six week public consultation.

“It could be up to around 18 months before any changes are made. In the meantime services will continue to be run from the current branch, as now.”

If you would like to add your voice to the campaign write to the Hornchurch and Upminster Converative Association at 23 Butts Green Road Hornchurch RM11 2JS.


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