CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Downsizing post office in Camden Town will lead to longer waiting times, objectors warn

Consultation survey begins over plan to move Camden High Street branch into smaller unit two doors down

19 July, 2018 — By Helen Chapman

PLANS to downsize the post office in Camden Town have sparked warnings of longer queues and fewer services.

A switch scheduled for November will see the current branch close and move into a new unit in Camden High Street, two doors down.

It will then no longer be run as a Crown service – the term used for branches directly managed and publicly owned by the Post Office – and instead operate on a franchise basis inside a stationery retailer.

The move will replicate the turnaround in East Finchley, where the post office is now run at the back of a branch of the UOE office retail chain.

A consultation survey on the changes is running until August 18.

John Gaby, the local branch secretary of the Communication Workers Union, said: “We would want the post office to remain public. The concern is that a private company could go bust and we would end up with no post office. A public service deteriorates under a private company as they can’t guarantee their service conditions.”

He said: “Wages must be reduced and individuals currently working there would lose their jobs, because if they transfer their employees they would also have to transfer their rate of pay. You can guarantee there will be fewer open pos­itions and an impact on customer waiting time.”

Labour London Assembly Member Andrew Dismore said he had written to the Post Office calling on it to protect services. “This was entirely predictable, but nonetheless disappointing,” he said. Government funding for Post Offices Limited fell from £210m in 2013 to £80m in 2016, prompt­ing a fresh wave of sell-offs.

Roger Gale, the Post Office’s network and sales director, said the proposal was “the best way of safeguarding services for years to come”. He added: “By opening more branches with retailers, bringing the benefits of shared footfall and overheads – often alongside extended opening hours, as we are planning in Camden – we are able to keep our presence in key locations.

To view the plan and comment visit postoffice­views.co.uk  or email comments@postoffice.co.uk

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