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"No plans" to close town's mail delivery office
1:42pm Friday 20th September 2013 in News
OFFICIALS say there are no plans to move the delivery office based at Chester-le-Street’s main post office.
The Crown Post Office, in the middle of Front Street, could be shut and its business provided instead by a franchisee elsewhere in the town.
Post Office Ltd has identified the branch among over 70 across the country that it says are loss-making.
Already there is opposition in the town to the proposal.
The building is owned by the Royal Mail – now a separate company that is due to be privatised – and Post Office Ltd rents its space.
People can collect parcels from the Royal Mail delivery office at the side of the building or from a hatch inside the post office.
There are fears that if the post office moves the delivery office will go too – to a less accessible location away from the town centre.
But a spokeswoman for the Royal Mail said today (Friday, September 20): “There are no plans to move or change the delivery office at Chester-le-Street.”
Last week (Friday, September 13) more than 50 people attended a public meeting in the town’s Parish Centre.
They heard Post Office officials say that the move was being considered because the branch was losing money and not doing as much business as it used to.
But the residents who spoke said they did not want the branch to close, despite assurances that the range of services would be the same if another business took over.
They voiced fears that the quality of service would be poor, the new premises would not be as conveniently located or as spacious and that the town centre would suffer from the loss of a key facility.
The Communication Workers Union (CWU) is concerned about the impact on the 11 employees and is urging people to work with it on a campaign against the franchise move.
Post Office Ltd says it will carry out formal consultation once it has chosen the business it wants to run the franchise.
Critics have branded the consultation a “sham”, saying that people will not be able to affect the decision to award the franchise.
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