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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

Council offers four new apprenticeships

Kick-start your career and make a positive difference to our community, is the message coming from Crawley Borough Council

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The council has four exciting roles available:

  • Worth Park Horticultural Apprentice
  • Communications Apprentice
  • Apprentice Building Maintenance Surveyor
  • Apprentice Specialist Fitter (Vehicle, Plant and Equipment).

Our apprenticeship opportunities aim to help talented people take their first steps in specialist areas while gaining local government experience.

If you’re passionate about helping others and making a difference to Crawley’s residents and the local environment, an apprenticeship with the council could be perfect for you!

The full-time 18-month Horticultural Apprentice role is a unique opportunity based at Worth Park; it’ll combine your passion for sustainable horticulture, hands-on outdoor tasks and a thirst for learning new things.

If you enjoy writing and have a keen interest in the media, Communications Apprentice might be the role for you! During the 18-month programme you’ll write press releases, schedule social media posts, work with local and regional press and so much more.

The Building Maintenance Surveyor vacancy is a two-year apprenticeship with Crawley Homes. You’ll work alongside experienced surveyors and get hands-on experience as a valued member of the Responsive Repairs and Planned Maintenance Teams.

Learn how to service and repair a wide range of vehicles, plant machinery and mechanical equipment with the Specialist Fitter apprenticeship. For three years, you’ll be part of our experienced Vehicle Workshop Team based in County Oak.

Cabinet member for Planning and Economic Development, Councillor Peter Smith, said: “As a council, we’re committed to offering these opportunities to young people and those looking to start a new career.

“With our apprenticeships, you can be earning a competitive salary while gaining invaluable work experience and a transferable qualification – there are no drawbacks!”

All vacancies close on Sunday 21 July and offer a starting salary of £12,042.

Find out more about our apprenticeships and register for vacancy alerts at crawley.gov.uk/apprenticeships

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