[From Islington Gazette]
Four more post offices facing the axe
20 February 2008
FOUR more Islington post offices are facing the axe in another round of closures.
Residents are already reeling from news that Post Office chiefs want to shut down the purpose-built or “crown” post office in Essex Road.
Now a further four post office counters inside shops in the borough could be lost.
The Post Office has just announced two possible closures in Caledonian Road – one at the Holloway end and the other closer to King’s Cross.
Two other sub-post offices – in Blackstock Road, Finsbury Park, and Mildmay Grove, Newington Green – are also set to shut.
Bridget Fox, who is a former Islington councillor and the Liberal Democrat prospective parliamentary candidate for Islington South and Finsbury, said: “It’s just awful. Everyone is going to have to be forced to go to Upper Street if these closures happen and the queues will go around the block. We will be fighting this tooth and nail.”
But Islington South and Finsbury’s Labour MP, Emily Thornberry, said: “There is a big difference between Essex Road Post Office and these sub post offices which tend to be just a counter in a shop because they are likely to be located somewhere where there are other post offices nearby, so it is less of an issue than crown post offices.
“We should all be fighting together to ensure we have a post office on each of our main streets. My main focus is to protect Highbury Corner and Essex Road post offices.
“It is important for everyone to work together on this, across parties, so I have written to the Islington mayor to see if we can put together a delegation.”
A total of 169 post office branches across London are proposed for closure. The Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, is considering a legal challenge to double the consultation period to 12 weeks. He said: “The Post Office have said they will consult for just six weeks over the closure proposals rather than the normal 12 weeks which the Government recommends as a minimum.
“I believe we need more, not fewer, post offices in London.”
The Post Office’s network development manager for London, Anita Turner, said: “Taking the decision to close any post office branch is always very difficult and we know it will cause concern to many of our customers.
“We believe these proposals offer the best prospect for a sustainable way forward for Post Office services in London bearing in mind the minimum access criteria and the other factors to which we have to have regard.