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“Post Office consultation was a sham!” says Crawley Council leader as results are published

It caused one of the largest furores in recent times across Crawley.

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Last year the Post Office announced it was intending to close the current site on The Boulevard and move in WHSmiths inside County mall.

Instantly there was an outcry from both the public and politicians.

Claims of pay cuts and access issues arose and none were really ever dealt with.

The Post Office then decided they would be holding a public consultation but it soon became known that the consultation would have no impact at all on the move as it had already been decided it was going ahead whatever the results said.

Now those long awaited results have been pubished and is anyone surprised that this ‘lip service’ by the Post Office was nothing more than that, a way to give an impression there was genuine interest when nothing would change no matter what people said.

Now Crawley Council Leader Peter Lamb has spoken out after the findings were released calling it a sham in a public tweet.

In a statement to Crawley News 24 Mr Lamb said:

“Unlike Royal Mail, the Post Office is a service wholly-owned by the public.

Yet, despite being asked, the Government is refusing to retain the full-range of Post Office facilities in Crawley, or to ensure that those with disabilities or who are no longer stable on their feet retain access to all the services they need.

People will be rightly angry that they are losing an important service in the town, that local opinions in this consultation have counted for nothing and that the Government has again failed to safeguard the needs of Crawley residents.”

One of the biggest worries about the move was always going to be the questions of access for those with reduced mobility.

Instead of being able to park directly outside now everyone has to park in a multi-storey car park and navigate their way through the maze of lifts and passageways in order to reach them. Something tiring for an able bodied person but when you are elderly or disabled it is turning from a quick visit to the Post Office to a day out just to do some simple tasks.

And what is the Post Offices response to this accessibility concerns?

“customer access both into and within the store will meet Post Office Ltd’s own accessibility standards and all applicable legislation”

So the ‘LEGAL’ minimum required.

So what was the point of the consultation? Why ask people what they thought when it would have no impact at all with the result?

One paragraph on the published report is very revealing. It is their reponse to the impact of the local community and rationale for the move.

It says:

“The Post Office and WHSmith benefit from each other’s service range and customer loyalty. We are both an integral part of services provided on the high street across the UK, and both absolutely committed to providing excellent customer service. We believe the best approach to retaining this branch, so it can continue to serve its community effectively and sustainably, is to transfer to a third party retailer. WHSmith already successfully operate over 130 Post Office branches to very high standards. We are confident that Crawley Post Office will meet those same high standards.”

If anyone can point out where they have addressed the impact on the local community please let us know, in-fact we may hold a public consultation on the matter, but to be honest we probably wont pay any attention to it as apparently that’s what you are supposed to do.

You can read the full results here.

Lifestyle

Live or work in Ifield? Make sure you attend ‘Talk Ifield” Community Forum

Over one year after its successful re-launch in autumn 2017, the ‘Talk Ifield’ local community forum will be holding its next open public meeting from 7.00pm to 8.30pm on Monday 4th March 2019 at Elim Church, The Mardens, Ifield, Crawley RH11 0HD.

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‘Talk Ifield’ was first established in 2013 as a neighbourhood forum, run by local people, for local people.

It offers an opportunity for people who live and work in Ifield to meet and share ideas for improving and developing the local community for the benefit of everyone.

Anyone who lives in, who works in, or who has an interest in Ifield is welcome to attend the open forum meetings.

This year they are delighted to announce their guest speaker on 4th March will be Crawley Borough Councillor Martin Stone, who will be giving a presentation and leading a discussion on the subject of ‘Crawley Museum, and a short history of Crawley and Ifield’.

Crawley has a rich and varied history dating back several centuries, and the new Museum has now become a focal point for anyone who is interested in the heritage of our town and its changing character over the years.

Martin has had a leading role in helping to establish the Museum and has himself also undertaken extensive research into the history of Ifield in particular.

Mark Sudan, Chair of the ‘Talk Ifield’ Management Committee, said:

“Very many people attended our last open forum meeting in September, and we enjoyed a most interesting presentation on maintaining our neighbourhood environment from the Borough Council officer responsible for leading that work.

We are now looking forward to our next forum meeting on 4th March, at which Cllr Martin Stone will be bringing us up to date on the new Crawley Museum, and sharing with us his own extensive knowledge and research into the history of Ifield in particular.

This will be a fascinating evening’s discussion, and we urge as many people as can do so, to come along and share the experience as Martin takes us on a unique journey through local history.”

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