AXE TO FALL ON POST OFFICES


[from Hackney Gazette]

AXE TO FALL ON POST OFFICES

hg.editorial@archant.co.uk
09 May 2008

THE axe is set to fall on the seven threatened post offices in Hackney despite months of protests.

Massive opposition from members of the public and politicians has been ignored following a six-week consultation period.

The seven stricken branches are in Blackstock Road, Finsbury Park; Cassland Road, South Hackney; Chatsworth Road, Lower Clapton; Lower Clapton Road; Murray Grove, Hoxton; Stoke Newington Road; and Wilton Way, Hackney. They are among 155 branches that are set to close across the capital from June, the Post Office announced yesterday (Wednesday).

The decision comes in the face of vociferous opposition to the plans, which were released originally in February.

Thousands of people had added their names to petitions available at most of the post offices and campaigns to save the branches were run by Hackney Council and Hackney Liberal Democrats.

The mayor of Hackney, Jules Pipe, said: “Our message is clear – these proposals would impact significantly on the most vulnerable residents in the borough.

“The Post Office says that customers would still be within a mile of their nearest branch, but that is a long and difficult journey for some, particularly older people.

“We strongly urge the Post Office to reconsider its plans and to take full account of their effects on the lives of residents.

“More research is needed on how neighbouring branches would cope with extra demand.

Hussain Ahmed, who runs the Hoxton Road post office, said: “It’s very disappointing. We had a petition going, but nothing happened.

“People are very upset and say they won’t be able to go further to another branch, especially the elderly and disabled.

“What are you supposed to tell them?”

Anita Turner, Post Office Ltd’s network development manager for London, said: “These are difficult decisions which have not been taken lightly. We have considered very carefully all the comments made during the public consultation.

“We believe that the amended plan offers our customers in London the best prospect for a sustainable network in the future.

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