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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.

Education

Now’s the time to apply to for your child’s secondary school place in Crawley

Families with children due to start secondary school in September 2020 can now apply for places online.

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Applications will be open until Thursday 31 October 2019.

Parents should apply for their child’s secondary school place by the deadline. Applying after the deadline will seriously affect the chances of your child being offered one of your preferred schools.

The quickest and easiest way to get information and apply is online: www.westsussex.gov.uk/school-places but those unable to apply online can request a form by calling 03330 142903.

The secondary school application online process is quick and simple, and an automatic email will acknowledge that the application has been received. Free use of computers with internet access is available in all West Sussex libraries.

Tips to remember when applying for secondary school applications: 

  • Parents are encouraged to apply for up to three schools and must list them in order of preference.
  • A child is not guaranteed a place at a school just because they are in the catchment area. Parents will need to select the catchment school as part of their application for it to be considered.
  • Those who miss the deadline for applications must still submit an application form, as a child will not automatically be allocated a school.

Richard Burrett, Cabinet Member for Education and Skills said:

“This is an important step for children and their families, and we want to ensure the process runs as smoothly as possible. I would encourage all parents to submit their applications on time to give us the best opportunity to meet your preferences for your children. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact the Admissions Team.”

Primary or junior school applications

Applications for children due to start primary or junior school in September 2020 open on Monday 7 October and close on Wednesday 15 January 2020, more details to follow.

West Sussex County Council staff are available to advise parents on the admissions process. Parents can telephone 03330 142903 or email the Admissions Team North at admissions.north@westsussex.gov.uk or the Admissions Team South at admissions.south@westsussex.gov.uk.  

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