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.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please take five-minutes and send an email. If you do not, it might be too late.
The Original letter from the PO: