Porthleven Post Office set to change without thought to the community

Recently, I received a letter from the Post Office explaining the ‘exciting’ changes to Porthleven Post Office. On first glance it looked like good news, but having been involved before when there was a threat to Porthleven Office several years ago, these letters tend to skirt over some (or rather a lot) of the detail.

Talking to the sub-postmaster, it was soon apparent the letter I received missed out quite a bits of information. The first is the salary the Postmaster receives to run the Post Office is set to stop. The current dedicated counter – which also offers security – will be removed. This will be replaced by a single use counter for the whole of the shop. Furthermore, the cost of this change is to be met by the owners of the shop, Paul and Sharon, apart from a grant of up to £1,400.

Porthleven's Post Office

Porthleven’s Post Office

The loss of the salary is a huge blow to Paul and Sharon, as this pays the staff that operate the Post Office. For a small business like theirs, it will be very difficult to keep the current staff levels, operate the Post Office and other parts of the shop. The business will have to make this loss of a salary up from the general running costs of the store. Losing circa £14k is not a small amount to absorb.

Speaking to Paul and Sharon it is clear they are gutted with the changes. They have worked hard to run this successful shop, and have built up a loyal customer base. It is also clear that the shop has to accept the changes, or the alternative will be to lose the Post Office facility.

I have written to the Post Office objecting most strongly to the changes. I asked for a meeting to see if we could find a way forward. Yet, the reply I received on Monday from the Head of External Relations at the Post Office was basically re-enforcing the original letter. However, my offer to meet and discuss a way forward has been accepted. I am in the process of setting up that meeting.

I have further requested that no changes are made to the provision in Porthleven until there has been a meeting, and more importantly, there is a proper consultation period. As the current ‘consultation’ is not good enough to hear the views of Porthleven’s residents.

Officially, there is a consultation period till the 2nd February, and the letter said no changes will be made till that has finished. Yet, the Post Office officials have been in the shop to ‘measure up’ the changes. It is clear to me, that the Post Office are railroading these changes without one thought to the community. This is an outrageous slap in the face to the residents of Porthleven.

Porthleven Town Council has also met to discuss this issue, from that meeting they will be writing to the Post Office to ask for a meeting. I have also contacted the local MP asking for support.

My fear is with the changes and the loss of the salary to help run the Post Office will put a huge pressure on the other parts of the shop. Resulting in the Post Office not being a viable option. If no other premises in Porthleven wished to take on the Post Office facility, we in Porthleven could be in grave danger of losing our Post Office forever. I am not saying this would definitely happen, but it is a concern.

There is a petition in the Post Office, but that is only one way to object. I am urging readers of this blog to help me in objecting to the changes.

One way to do this is to get everyone to write an email asking for a period of grace before any changes are implemented for the Post Office to hold a proper period of consultation to hear the views of residents. From those views, to work with the Post Office and the sub-postmaster to find a way forward.

The email details are: comments@postoffice.co.uk

Please take five-minutes and send an email. If you do not, it might be too late.

The Original letter from the PO:

Postoffice1

Postoffice2

10 comments

  • Deb Bramwell - Stargazey

    Thank you for letting us know about these changes which could prove so harmful to our wonderful Post Office and local shop. Sharon, Paul and their team work so hard it is not fair that these changes are being imposed on them. I will email the Post Office and share this info on my business page.

  • Removing the glass and making it open plan is a massive H&S risk. When our local business cash in after the weekend, plus the bank cash deliver for the weekly pension on Monday. A robbery will take place and someone will get badly injured. because of no protection to the Post Office worker. Even the crooks come on holiday.

  • Lesley Connochie

    Thank you for flagging this up and I will be emailing the Post Office asap. I agree that Sharon and Paul and the team work so hard and the Post Office is a major hub in the village and to lose it would be a tragedy. Also to remove the security screen is absolute madness in this day and age and will put people at risk.

  • Gillian Calkar

    What rubbish, what’s wrong with these idiots who think these alterations will be any good. It’s a brilliant shop/ post office . They’ve worked hard to keep it a good working post office. We all need to stand behind them to get this thrown out .

  • T Burns

    It’s happening everywhere just done this at the post office where I work moved us from a nice secure area at the back of the shop on to the shop counter!! No room to move customers don’t know where to que for shop or post office it’s a nightmare. Also the shop staff have only been given 4 hours training on post office counter!

  • Mary Holloway

    Have you got a link to the PO?

  • Val Draper

    It was about the time that I left the Post Office that this happened to my sister post office in Taverham in Norwich, (about 3 1/2 years ago) the services that they could offer, because of the new open plan design, was halved, and therefore a loss to them and the community was grave, we fortunately kept the counter design so we’re ok, but my fear for the Porthleven Post Office is that not only will they loose the postmasters revenue, but the loss of facilities they will be able to offer will force them out of business, then where will the Porthleven community have to go…. It’s so sad that the Post Office are being able to bully small businesses like this…..

  • It is a real shame. The PO must know from a safety point of view to protect its staff is high on the list. SAFETY FIRST . To use the same counter for all will encounter queues and delays, especially in the height of tourist season, the locals and visiting guests, will place pressure upon its staff from the same open counter. I used and do use the PO many times, it is a centre of village life, a friendly happy shop, serving all with highest of quality service.
    Village life depends upon its shops, the community and how it thrives. How does it benefit the PO, to rush along its thoughts, without giving a proper period of time for open dialogue, not only to the owners of the established business, but to its customers who use the PO services, for whom the PO would have no business without thier loyalty. I cannot see why the PO are not giving a proper time period, open democratic discussion, hearing the points of views, by trying to rail road your decision, shows a lack of respect to the owners of the Porthleven PO and general store, and places not only the staff at high risk, but its customers at high risk by removing the glass , to possible thought of robberies, the PO not giving the staff proper protection and inviting a possible situation. A very selfish attitude, considering the Health and Safety Act 1974 is being breached, by not protecting its safety and care of its staff, putting unnecessary stress and concern in thier path. The PO will be directly to blame if any hurt were to come to the staff of the PO by removing the glass, using one counter for all services.

  • Alison Round

    This is outrageous! Don’t know how we would manage without the local Post Office. I will email now.

  • Pingback: Proposed changes to Porthleven Post Office is not a consultation, but a communication – Cllr Andrew Wallis

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