May 25 2013 Latest news:
Friday, February 15, 2013
Holloway Post Office could close as part of plans drawn up to claw back £40million-a-year losses.
Post Office bosses want to close the branch and replace it with a franchised post office based in another shop.
The branch, situated at 482 Holloway Road, Holloway, is one of 70 Crown branches – those that are owned by the Post Office itself – that are earmarked for replacement in this way.
Post Office campaigner Dolores Murray, who several years ago successfully fought to save Essex Road Post Office, thinks it could actually be a good idea – particularly if the post office was situated in a useful shop, such as a Tesco.
Mrs Murray, 70, who lives in Basire Street, Islington, and who is a member of OAP pop group and Britain’s Got Talent contestants The Zimmers, said: “I don’t think people would mind if they could get their money, do their post and do their shopping all at the same time. I don’t think it’s a bad idea. I think it would be a good idea.”
Cllr Paul Smith, a Holloway ward councillor and executive member for the environment on Labour-run Islington Council, was a bit more concerned – but was not entirely averse to the idea.
He said: “When I go in there, there always seems to be a queue so I think it’s a good service and I think it should stay.
“As long as the service remains, where it is situated doesn’t worry me, although having a proper post office is better because it’s more of a public facility.”
The Post Office has drawn up the plans because its 370 Crown branches, which make up three per cent of the 11,500-strong network, are currently operating at a £40million-a-year loss.
It has therefore identified 70 that could be franchised to a local shop.
The empty Crown branch premises could then be sold or leased.
Post Office bosses say this will not only help recoup losses but will also enable post office services to be provided in a more modern environment with longer opening hours.
It has pledged that if a willing shop cannot be found, the existing Holloway Post Office will remain open.
A Post Office spokeswoman said: “The 70 branches that have the potential to be partnered with a retailer will be subject to a six-week public consultation.
“We already have over 3,000 branches across the UK where customers are accessing services in this way.
“If no retail partner is found, we are still committed to having a Crown Post Office within the area.
“This is not a closure programme and there are no compulsory redundancies planned.”