It is with regret I have to write this blog post about our Post Office in Porthleven. As you know, without prior knowledge, the powers-that-be at the Post Office decided to change our Post Office in Porthleven.
The simple fact is the Post Office has not consulted with the public over the changes. It has done a communication. This basically means they sent a few letters and put posters up in the affected shop. However from this, over 70 residents and businesses wrote to the Post Office expressing concern about the changes.
Did the Post Office listen and at least put on hold the final decision until a proper consultation could take place? In simple words, no they did not. The Post Office is carrying on with its original plan with a few small tweaks.
It should not be a surprise, as the Post Office sent new opening time leaflets to the Post Office in Porthleven before the final decision was made. The Post Office has apologised for this ‘error’. However, it shows no matter what the public, or the operators of Porthleven Post Office have said, the Post Office had no intention of changing its mind.
I remained concerned that the changes will not be positive for Porthleven. More importantly, the changes are not good for the operators of the Post Office, Paul and Sharon. The impact of losing the sub-postmaster pay is a blow to Paul and Sharon. When the Post Office head of External Relations visited Porthleven, he said the changes would result in an uplift of 6% in trade.
I really cannot see how this would happen, but more importantly, this 6% does not offset the loss of the sub-postmaster’s pay. I also asked for proof of this magical figure of 6%. As yet, this has not been forthcoming. A small consultation to Paul and Sharon is the Post Office will pay a year’s sub-postermaster’s salary as part of the transition.
For many the Post Office in Porthleven is treated as a bank in Porthleven. These changes will impact on how businesses do their banking in Porthleven. The new Local Plus operation prohibits paying in more than £1000 in cash without a fortress facility. Many businesses in Porthleven pay more than this and therefore, these changes could potentially impact on businesses.
When I challenged this the response I received by letter is that: ‘(the) Postmaster will speak to business banking customers about any alternatives available for larger deposits’. I am not sure what this actually means. Is the alternative meaning bank elsewhere?
Many objections talked about additional queuing and the level of security. The Post Office responded by saying the new counter will have a separate till for the Post Office functions. However, this really does not solve the issue, more so if you must have two staff on at the same time, but without the income to fund this. Nothing about the security concerns.
I would like to thank all those who took the time to respond to the ‘communication’.
The Porthleven Post Office is set to close on the 10th March and reopen on the 14th March. Paul and Sharon need our support, and therefore, please where possible support them in this difficult time.