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Islington post office merger plans slammed by opponents

PUBLISHED: 12:34 11 October 2013 | UPDATED: 12:41 11 October 2013

Campaigners are unhappy about proposals to merge the two post offices

Campaigners are unhappy about proposals to merge the two post offices

Archant

A plan to close two post offices and replace them with a larger one has been attacked by opponents.

The Post Office has opened a consultation into plans to do away with two branches in Upper Street and Highbury Corner and replace them with a larger one.

The new post office would be at a bigger site in Upper Street and bosses say the “merger” is needed as both current branches are loss-making while the lease was also due to expire on one.

Under the plans the new branch would open for an extra three-and-a-half hours every week – from 9am to 6pm Monday to Thursday, 9.30am to 6pm Friday and 9am to 1.30pm Saturday.

Opponents said the loss of Highbury Corner prove a hammer blow to the area and argued some older people would be unable to make the longer journey.

Geoff Poole, CWU (Communication Workers Union) territorial rep, said: “First of all there is a big possibility that customers from Highbury will not go to Upper Street.

“Then the Post Office is being misleading about the claims of longer opening hours. No-one has ever asked us to open the current branches longer.

“If they called me tomorrow asking to open the branches for the same time as the new proposed one I would say yes. The opening hours are a red herring.”

Mr Poole also said the closure could threaten staff jobs, despite the Post Office promising no compulsory redundancies.

He did agree the current building in Highbury was not fit for purpose but said the Post Office should be working on creating a new site in the same area as it was well used by the public.

The Post Office is due to host a community forum in the coming weeks – date not yet confirmed – where it will give full details about the planned new branch.

Roger Gale, Crown Network general manager, said: “We want to make it easier for customers to do business with us and we are confident this new modern branch will meet the needs of customers in the area and help us to secure services for the future.”

The consultation is now open and will run until December 27. The CWU is encouraging people concerned about the potential loss of a post office at Highbury Corner to get involved and also write to their local MP.


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