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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.

Business

Aldi looking to open second store in Crawley, but where is it going to be?

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The UK’s fifth largest supermarket has been on an expansion drive in recent years as it targets having 1,200 stores open by 2025.

Among the towns it hopes to open in are Bognor Regis, Littlehampton, and Worthing.

Most excitingly for locals here though, it also wants to build an additional store in Crawley as well as Brighton and Hastings.

Aldi, which currently has more than 880 stores across the UK, has identified 20 new locations where it is looking for freehold town-centre or edge-of-centre sites suitable for development.

It says each site should be around 1.5 acres and able to accommodate a 20,000 sq ft store with around 100 parking spaces, ideally on a prominent main road and with good visibility and access. 

With Morrisons leaving their town centre location speculation has turned to whether this will now be the perfect location for the second Aldi.

Ciaran Aldridge, National Property Director at Aldi UK, said:

“Aldi is growing rapidly and we are welcoming around a million new customers into our stores every year.

“But there are also hundreds of towns across the UK where there is not an Aldi, meaning there are hundreds of thousands of people who can’t easily access the high quality, affordable food our customers love.

“We are willing to explore all opportunities, including developer-led schemes or existing retail units.”

The full list of locations it is targeting in Sussex are:

  • Bexhill
  • Bognor Regis
  • Brighton
  • Burgess Hill
  • Chichester
  • Crawley
  • East Grinstead
  • Eastbourne
  • Goring-by-Sea
  • Hailsham
  • Hastings
  • Haywards Heath
  • Horsham
  • Littlehampton
  • Midhurst
  • Newhaven
  • Portslade
  • Shoreham
  • Uckfield
  • Worthing

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