• Paul Bell

Meeting with the Post Office, Vicky Foxcroft MP, councillors, CWU and local residents


Yesterday, myself along with Cllr Luke Sorba, Cllr Joe Dromey, Vicky Foxcroft MP, CWU and local residents met with the Post Office (PO) to discuss New Cross Gate Post Office. As expected the PO told us they are closing our Crown Post Office and relocating to the One Stop Shop as a franchise. One Stop is therefore betraying their local community for money. Very sad.

At the meeting, the PO confirmed the consultation was a sham. They were not interested in the public's view of whether they want their Crown Post Office to remain, but data to enable them to move it to a franchise model, one where were lose experienced and dedicated public servants to minimum wage jobs, where the state has to subsidise poverty pay by bad employers.

Vicky Foxcroft MP again demanded to know why the PO had made no attempt to work with the community to make New Cross Gate Post Office "profitable" despite repeated attempts by her office and campaigners to engage. A non-answer came back from the PO. Arrogance. Cllr Luke Sorba asked about the social impact and about the future development of Sainsbury's, as well as what a successful consultation response would look like to keep the Crown. Everyone apart from the PO was convinced the queues to access services would be "out of the door" with no courtyard area to absorb the overflow. The PO does not care.


Attached to this article is the picture of the floor plan at One Stop with the post office counters. It was not to scale. It is a ludicrous interpretation of how the post office would look and is totally inaccurate. Vicky asked for a copy of it and the representative from the PO said she does give it out. So I took a picture of it. #Misinformation was then introduced by the PO representative, saying the post office would be open from 5 am until late.

However, that would be the sweet counter where you could buy stamps. The all-service counters in One Stop would only be open from 9 am to 5:30 pm, Monday to Saturday. There will be no free ATM, nor an ATM at all. One Stop has been awarded a 5-year contract. There is no guarantee even the downgraded services would remain after 5 years. Residents will have to queue for cash, along with everyone else, at the counters. Finally, none of the existing staff has opted for TUPE to One Stop. Lost skills. Lost dedication. Lost friends. In fact, the PO does not make it a requirement for any franchisee to pay the London Living Wage (or Living Wage outside of London).

Residents asked the PO representative to bring a senior person to a public meeting in New Cross to explain the decision. I have little hope that the £600,000 serial Crown killer, Paula Vennells, Chief Executive of the Post Office, will face tax payers to justify their decision.

So, what next? I've already stated that only direct action and making our voices heard at One Stop will stop this and other post offices being lost. In 2018, the London Borough will have no Crown Post Offices. If anyone is interested in doing this, please email me at cllr_paul.bell@lewisham.gov.uk or contact one of the members of the Campaign.

A community works best together, when residents and local businesses support each other, not betray their community for profit.

#NewCrossGatePostOffice #OneStop165167NewCrossRoadLondonSE14

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© 2020 Paul Bell. All views are my own, unless otherwise stated