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‘Bad, Bad, Bad’, Crawley Council Leader tells Post Office why proposed closure is not good

In a letter to the Post Office, Crawley Council Leader Peter Lamb has set out reasons why the proposed closure and move to WHSmiths is not ideal.

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The Post Office is planning to relocate the current brand within County Mall, more specifically within the WHSmith store.

The reason they cite for this is to secure their services for the ‘long term’.

In a statement from the Post Office’s Network and Sales Director Roger Gale it read:

“The vast majority of our 11,500 Post Offices, large and small, are successfully operated on a franchise basis with retail partners. We believe this is the best approach to keeping Post Offices in main shopping locations and at the heart of communities where they play an important role in local economies.”

Under the proposals, the services at the new branch would remain the same with the exception of a cash machine. Services will include everyday banking for the UK’s high street banks, online shopping returns and collections and foreign exchange.

The Post Office would be in a dedicated area within the WHSmith store, with five serving positions and an additional four self-service kiosks for mails transactions, including home shopping returns, E Top-Ups, and a range of bill payments

Mr Gale added:

“We believe our proposal is the most effective way to secure the long term viability of Post Office services for years to come.”

But Council Leader Peter Lamb has written a strongly worded letter outlining why such a move is not a good thing for the town.

In his letter, Mr Lamb asks for assurances that the service level will not be affected as a result of the move.

He also asks for guarantees that should WHSmith ever close then there would be a continuity of service.

Plans provided by the Post Office show that there would be a loss of a cash machine but that there would be a Sunday Service.

The Crawley proposed closure is just one of forty one that have been identified by the Post Office.

A public consultation on the proposals has now started and will run until 5 December 2018. It is proposed to open the new branch in March 2019.

Views and comments can be provided:

On the website: postofficeviews.co.uk
By email: comments@postoffice.co.uk
By post: FREEPOST Your Comments

Business

More business rates to be kept local and pay for gigabit broadband

A successful bid to keep more business rates in West Sussex, supported by Crawley Borough Council, will enable residents and businesses to access gigabit broadband.

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The bid, to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, to keep 75 per cent of business rates collected in West Sussex – instead of the current 50 per cent – was one of 15 successful applications out of 35 nationwide. This means that there will be an additional £19.1m retained in the county annually from 2019/20. However, this will be spent on improving digital infrastructure as we are unable to use it to help with Crawley Borough Council’s financial challenges.

Councillor Peter Lamb, Leader of Crawley Borough Council, said:

“This is good news for the digital infrastructure of the county and, once complete, the ‘spine’ will enable residents and businesses to connect to a full fibre network.

“Crawley has the biggest economy in the county and must benefit from this successful bid. However, this money is not extra for individual local authorities and will have very little impact on our finances, which are getting more challenging every year. Much is made of announcements like this but it will have no impact whatsoever on council finance or the services we provide.”

A digital ‘spine’ will be created alongside railway lines, to avoid digging up roads. A full fibre network will be laid from which residents and businesses can access gigabit broadband.

The spine will accelerate investment in and deployment of further new digital infrastructure by reducing barriers to investment in full fibre access networks and new wireless technologies.

The network will run along the Arun Valley railway line, from Ford to Three Bridges, the Brighton Mainline from Three Bridges to Brighton, and a coastal route from Brighton to Ford.

Crawley is the economic powerhouse of West Sussex. The town occupies just two per cent of the land but collects around 35 per cent of the county’s business rates. The town generates more than £120m in business rates each year but keeps only £6m; 10 per cent goes to West Sussex County Council and the rest currently goes to central government for redistribution.

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