Prime Minister pledges to defend postal services in Witney

David Cameron

Town councillor Brenda Churchill pictured outside Witney’s threatened post office Picture: OX57356 Ric Mellis

First published in News
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DAVID Cameron has warned the Post Office it can’t cut services in Witney but has stopped short of demanding its town centre branch is saved.

The Post Office announced on Friday it was looking to close the Market Square branch and open a franchise in another shop.

The Prime Minister and Witney MP said there should be no loss of services but did not say the branch should remain open.

Mr Cameron said: “Witney’s main Post Office is a vital, convenient and much cherished public service for local people in an expanding town.

“There must be no reduction whatsoever in the level of service provided to residents and businesses and as the Member of Parliament for Witney I will seek to ensure that this happens.”

When pressed if the Prime Minister wanted the current Post Office saved, a spokesman said he would “prefer” the service to remain in its current building.

Witney residents and business leaders said losing the branch could have a disastrous impact on the disabled, pensioners and firms.

Witney’s other post pffice in Burwell Drive does not offer services such as passport checking and driver and vehicle licensing.

Witney Town Council member Brenda Churchill, who is disabled, said: “If it closes it will have a terrible impact. I use it all the time to pay my rent. Disabled people are going to be reliant on other people travelling to the Post Office for them, which is yet another freedom gone.

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“It is your independence slowly being chipped away.”

She also questioned whether there were any shops in Witney that would be big enough to hold a Post Office.

Chamber of commerce chairman Lesley Semaine said: “It could be dire for businesses that rely on the Post Office every day.

“And if pensioners and the elderly cannot get on a bus from their home to the post office, as they do currently, it will be a nightmare.

“So many people rely on it.”

She added: “I am amazed it could close because it is rare you go in there and there is not a queue to the door. It is just so busy.”

The Post Office, which is losing £40m each year, said 70 directly-managed offices would need to close across the country.

It said it was starting discussions with Witney retailers, but all current services would be retained.

A spokesman said: “The 70 branches that have the potential to be partnered with a retailer will be subject to a six-week public consultation to gather the views of the local community.

“We are committed to having a branch in the area.

“If no retail partner is found we are still committed to having a Post Office within the area.

“This is not a closure programme and there are no compulsory redundancies planned as part of this strategy.”

Comments (7)

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11:57am Wed 13 Feb 13

the wizard says...

Welcome news I'm sure, but I cannot think of any retail outlet in Witney that has physical space to spare to convert to a Post Office. Co-Op and Waitrose are as developed as they can be, Sainsbury's is away from the town centre and not accessible in the same way for older or disabled people and suffers from complete lack of a suitable bus service. A merger with Lloyds Bank which is best part state owned would be a good solution but I can't see that happening. The PO at Burwell is far too small and often suffers from slow service and long queues. Tesco of course dealt the town a blow when they took over all the shops with sub post offices and promptly closed them them in favour of retail space putting a bigger focus on the main post office, which is also now ear marked for closure. Shambolic is an understatement, talk about turning away trade when you should be promoting it, useless.
Welcome news I'm sure, but I cannot think of any retail outlet in Witney that has physical space to spare to convert to a Post Office. Co-Op and Waitrose are as developed as they can be, Sainsbury's is away from the town centre and not accessible in the same way for older or disabled people and suffers from complete lack of a suitable bus service. A merger with Lloyds Bank which is best part state owned would be a good solution but I can't see that happening. The PO at Burwell is far too small and often suffers from slow service and long queues. Tesco of course dealt the town a blow when they took over all the shops with sub post offices and promptly closed them them in favour of retail space putting a bigger focus on the main post office, which is also now ear marked for closure. Shambolic is an understatement, talk about turning away trade when you should be promoting it, useless. the wizard
  • Score: 0

6:56pm Wed 13 Feb 13

Andrew:Oxford says...

The most sensible place to locate a Post Office isn't within another retail outlet.

Post Offices offer the greatest support to elderly and vulnerable people. The counter services, apart from dropping off parcels, are generally all available on-line.

To progress, the best option would be to provide a Post-Office counter within or adjacent to GP surgeries (similar to how pharmacies are located next to health centres). This would offer improved support somewhere that is likely to already be convenient.

For parcels. Well, time to put in a few self-service machines and a drop-off point at the sorting office...
The most sensible place to locate a Post Office isn't within another retail outlet. Post Offices offer the greatest support to elderly and vulnerable people. The counter services, apart from dropping off parcels, are generally all available on-line. To progress, the best option would be to provide a Post-Office counter within or adjacent to GP surgeries (similar to how pharmacies are located next to health centres). This would offer improved support somewhere that is likely to already be convenient. For parcels. Well, time to put in a few self-service machines and a drop-off point at the sorting office... Andrew:Oxford
  • Score: 0

7:14pm Wed 13 Feb 13

the wizard says...

Andrew:Oxford wrote:
The most sensible place to locate a Post Office isn't within another retail outlet.

Post Offices offer the greatest support to elderly and vulnerable people. The counter services, apart from dropping off parcels, are generally all available on-line.

To progress, the best option would be to provide a Post-Office counter within or adjacent to GP surgeries (similar to how pharmacies are located next to health centres). This would offer improved support somewhere that is likely to already be convenient.

For parcels. Well, time to put in a few self-service machines and a drop-off point at the sorting office...
Yes and the sorting office is where exactly, oh yes, Station Lane, quite a way from the town centre and served by, er.............. no buses, splendid. Not.

The best place for a PO would be right next door to the existing PO inside Lloyds Bank, which is almost state owned anyway, one way of the public seeing a return on their investment, but as much chance as the cow flying over the moon, then again, depends what the cow has been eating I suppose......
[quote][p][bold]Andrew:Oxford[/bold] wrote: The most sensible place to locate a Post Office isn't within another retail outlet. Post Offices offer the greatest support to elderly and vulnerable people. The counter services, apart from dropping off parcels, are generally all available on-line. To progress, the best option would be to provide a Post-Office counter within or adjacent to GP surgeries (similar to how pharmacies are located next to health centres). This would offer improved support somewhere that is likely to already be convenient. For parcels. Well, time to put in a few self-service machines and a drop-off point at the sorting office...[/p][/quote]Yes and the sorting office is where exactly, oh yes, Station Lane, quite a way from the town centre and served by, er.............. no buses, splendid. Not. The best place for a PO would be right next door to the existing PO inside Lloyds Bank, which is almost state owned anyway, one way of the public seeing a return on their investment, but as much chance as the cow flying over the moon, then again, depends what the cow has been eating I suppose...... the wizard
  • Score: 0

10:19pm Wed 13 Feb 13

nickwilcock says...

"When pressed if the Prime Minister wanted the current Post Office saved, a spokesman said he would “prefer” the service to remain in its current building."

Not good enough, Dave. You must give an unequivocal assurance that the Crown Post Office WILL remain at its current location and not be hidden away in some inappropriate retail outlet.

Nothing less is acceptable. "End of", in the current vernacular.
"When pressed if the Prime Minister wanted the current Post Office saved, a spokesman said he would “prefer” the service to remain in its current building." Not good enough, Dave. You must give an unequivocal assurance that the Crown Post Office WILL remain at its current location and not be hidden away in some inappropriate retail outlet. Nothing less is acceptable. "End of", in the current vernacular. nickwilcock
  • Score: 1

10:29pm Wed 13 Feb 13

Andrew:Oxford says...

the wizard wrote:
Andrew:Oxford wrote:
The most sensible place to locate a Post Office isn't within another retail outlet.

Post Offices offer the greatest support to elderly and vulnerable people. The counter services, apart from dropping off parcels, are generally all available on-line.

To progress, the best option would be to provide a Post-Office counter within or adjacent to GP surgeries (similar to how pharmacies are located next to health centres). This would offer improved support somewhere that is likely to already be convenient.

For parcels. Well, time to put in a few self-service machines and a drop-off point at the sorting office...
Yes and the sorting office is where exactly, oh yes, Station Lane, quite a way from the town centre and served by, er.............. no buses, splendid. Not.

The best place for a PO would be right next door to the existing PO inside Lloyds Bank, which is almost state owned anyway, one way of the public seeing a return on their investment, but as much chance as the cow flying over the moon, then again, depends what the cow has been eating I suppose......
But plenty of parking outside for quickly dropping off parcels.

Besides, the elderly and vulnerable would drop their parcels off at the GP sub post-offices.

There's no way any sane person would want rCBS combined with Horizon...
[quote][p][bold]the wizard[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Andrew:Oxford[/bold] wrote: The most sensible place to locate a Post Office isn't within another retail outlet. Post Offices offer the greatest support to elderly and vulnerable people. The counter services, apart from dropping off parcels, are generally all available on-line. To progress, the best option would be to provide a Post-Office counter within or adjacent to GP surgeries (similar to how pharmacies are located next to health centres). This would offer improved support somewhere that is likely to already be convenient. For parcels. Well, time to put in a few self-service machines and a drop-off point at the sorting office...[/p][/quote]Yes and the sorting office is where exactly, oh yes, Station Lane, quite a way from the town centre and served by, er.............. no buses, splendid. Not. The best place for a PO would be right next door to the existing PO inside Lloyds Bank, which is almost state owned anyway, one way of the public seeing a return on their investment, but as much chance as the cow flying over the moon, then again, depends what the cow has been eating I suppose......[/p][/quote]But plenty of parking outside for quickly dropping off parcels. Besides, the elderly and vulnerable would drop their parcels off at the GP sub post-offices. There's no way any sane person would want rCBS combined with Horizon... Andrew:Oxford
  • Score: -1

8:55am Thu 14 Feb 13

the wizard says...

Andrew:Oxford wrote:
the wizard wrote:
Andrew:Oxford wrote:
The most sensible place to locate a Post Office isn't within another retail outlet.

Post Offices offer the greatest support to elderly and vulnerable people. The counter services, apart from dropping off parcels, are generally all available on-line.

To progress, the best option would be to provide a Post-Office counter within or adjacent to GP surgeries (similar to how pharmacies are located next to health centres). This would offer improved support somewhere that is likely to already be convenient.

For parcels. Well, time to put in a few self-service machines and a drop-off point at the sorting office...
Yes and the sorting office is where exactly, oh yes, Station Lane, quite a way from the town centre and served by, er.............. no buses, splendid. Not.

The best place for a PO would be right next door to the existing PO inside Lloyds Bank, which is almost state owned anyway, one way of the public seeing a return on their investment, but as much chance as the cow flying over the moon, then again, depends what the cow has been eating I suppose......
But plenty of parking outside for quickly dropping off parcels.

Besides, the elderly and vulnerable would drop their parcels off at the GP sub post-offices.

There's no way any sane person would want rCBS combined with Horizon...
You must have looked on Google Earth or something to evaluate parking, fact of the matter is during the day all the parking is taken by Royal Mail vehicles, and this office closes promptly at 16:30, so offers little service for people who are working. There is no bus service to anywhere near for an OAP to gain access to this facility, or disabled, or those without transport, please understand that.
As goes sub Post Offices, if you had read the article there is only one. The facility in Station Lane at this moment does not accept incoming goods from the public Many parcels dispatched from the existing Post Office are collected by Parcel Force, and their depot is in Kidlington.
[quote][p][bold]Andrew:Oxford[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]the wizard[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Andrew:Oxford[/bold] wrote: The most sensible place to locate a Post Office isn't within another retail outlet. Post Offices offer the greatest support to elderly and vulnerable people. The counter services, apart from dropping off parcels, are generally all available on-line. To progress, the best option would be to provide a Post-Office counter within or adjacent to GP surgeries (similar to how pharmacies are located next to health centres). This would offer improved support somewhere that is likely to already be convenient. For parcels. Well, time to put in a few self-service machines and a drop-off point at the sorting office...[/p][/quote]Yes and the sorting office is where exactly, oh yes, Station Lane, quite a way from the town centre and served by, er.............. no buses, splendid. Not. The best place for a PO would be right next door to the existing PO inside Lloyds Bank, which is almost state owned anyway, one way of the public seeing a return on their investment, but as much chance as the cow flying over the moon, then again, depends what the cow has been eating I suppose......[/p][/quote]But plenty of parking outside for quickly dropping off parcels. Besides, the elderly and vulnerable would drop their parcels off at the GP sub post-offices. There's no way any sane person would want rCBS combined with Horizon...[/p][/quote]You must have looked on Google Earth or something to evaluate parking, fact of the matter is during the day all the parking is taken by Royal Mail vehicles, and this office closes promptly at 16:30, so offers little service for people who are working. There is no bus service to anywhere near for an OAP to gain access to this facility, or disabled, or those without transport, please understand that. As goes sub Post Offices, if you had read the article there is only one. The facility in Station Lane at this moment does not accept incoming goods from the public Many parcels dispatched from the existing Post Office are collected by Parcel Force, and their depot is in Kidlington. the wizard
  • Score: 0

8:29am Fri 15 Feb 13

nickwilcock says...

"A spokesman said: “The 70 branches that have the potential to be partnered with a retailer will be subject to a six-week public consultation to gather the views of the local community.

“We are committed to having a branch in the area.

“If no retail partner is found we are still committed to having a Post Office within the area. "

One wonders what the spokesman means by 'in the area'. Market Square? High Street? Witney? West Oxfordshire??

The Crown Post Office must remain where it is - Market Square in Witney.

Ever since the Post Office introduced complicated size/weight/destinat
ion postal rates, I've had to queue up if I need to send anything more than a simple inland letter or card. It's always busy, often with lengthy queues. Relocation elsewhere would be unacceptable; perhaps the Post Office spokesman should come and visit the Witney Crown Post Office?
"A spokesman said: “The 70 branches that have the potential to be partnered with a retailer will be subject to a six-week public consultation to gather the views of the local community. “We are committed to having a branch in the area. “If no retail partner is found we are still committed to having a Post Office within the area. " One wonders what the spokesman means by 'in the area'. Market Square? High Street? Witney? West Oxfordshire?? The Crown Post Office must remain where it is - Market Square in Witney. Ever since the Post Office introduced complicated size/weight/destinat ion postal rates, I've had to queue up if I need to send anything more than a simple inland letter or card. It's always busy, often with lengthy queues. Relocation elsewhere would be unacceptable; perhaps the Post Office spokesman should come and visit the Witney Crown Post Office? nickwilcock
  • Score: 0

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