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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

Crawley’s Thomas Bennett Students Celebrate Christmas with a Winter Concert

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Students at Thomas Bennett Community College celebrated Christmas with an amazing Winter Concert held last night.

More than 25 students performed and showcased an amazing array of talent.  Performances included some Christmas classics as well a vast array of music and songs from all genres.

The school hall was packed to the rafters with family, friends and staff all of whom came to watch.  Decorated beautifully for Christmas the atmosphere in the school was fantastic.  The highlight of course was the students, whose talent was just incredible.  Students played a range of instruments including keyboard, guitar and drums.  There was also plenty of vocal performances from students whose outstanding talent was just phenomenal.

Lots of hard work and commitment went into making the evening such a success.  Students have been practising tirelessly in the weeks leading up to the event to ensure that they were able to perform with confidence.  The schools Sixth form students also played in a big part and helped organise the event and made sure it run smoothly. 

However, the concert wouldn’t have been such a huge success without the hard work of the schools entire music department.  Mr. Dobson, Ms. Wookey and Ms. Harvey all worked phenomenally hard to ensure that the evening was brilliant.  Their passion for music and teaching really shone through.

The event was the perfect way to finish the winter term. 

Headteacher, Stuart Smith said:

“The Winter Concert was just incredible.  I really couldn’t be prouder of the outstanding talent shown by the students last night.  The event was a real highlight of the year and wouldn’t have been possible without the hard work of Mr. Dobson and the music department.  We have some incredibly gifted students and watching them perform last night with such confidence was amazing to see.”

The whole school community enjoyed the experience so much that they are now busy thinking ahead and are getting ready to prepare for their Easter music concert.

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