Crawley Observer Column, Wednesday 7th November 2018

A Post Office is a service every community needs, yet there are changes afoot which put at risk the future of this service in Crawley. Post Office Limited are consulting on changes which would see the current Crawley Post Office closed, with services moving into WH Smith. Unlike Royal Mail, the Post Office remains wholly owned by the Government and they argue this will safeguard local provision, but in practice it’s simply another cost-cutting measure by a publicly-owned organisation in a time of austerity. I’ve nothing against efficiency, but genuine efficiency means getting more out of less, getting less for less is simply a cut.

There are major problems with the proposal. Go into the Post Office at any time and despite the large number of counters you will see people queuing, it’s hard to imagine that number of counters going into the much more lightly staffed WH Smiths. The range of services Post Offices provide also go way beyond selling people stamps, they provide various Government services, such as renewing of driving licenses, with all the associated biometric equipment required. Will all these services still be available in a stationers?

Perhaps the worst impact to my mind is that on those with mobility issues, who will go from being able to park in free bays immediately outside the Post Office, to paying to park in the County Mall multi-storey and then having to make their way across the entire mall to access the service. Accessibility alone should make the proposal unacceptable, particularly given that many of those with such issues are of an age where they are more likely to need to access services physically at a Post Office.

Lastly, what are the guarantees that the Post Office remains if the store goes under, as has happened to so many major chains in recent years. That’s before we consider redundancies and the impact of the vacant building on the Town Centre.

This proposal is bad for residents, bad for workers, simply bad for Crawley and I would encourage every resident to let the Post Office know by emailing comments@postoffice.co.uk

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