Residents of Bradley Stoke who would like to see a post office open at the Willow Brook Centre are being urged to show their support at a Council meeting this week.
The Post Office’s South West Senior Stakeholder Manager, Laura Tarling, is due to address a meeting of the Town Council’s Planning Committee at the Jubilee Centre on Wednesday evening (24th October), starting at 7:30pm.
A public consultation carried out by the Council in 2011 demonstrated strong demand for a larger post office in the town, with a clear majority asking for this to be provided at the Willow Brook Centre.
Many respondents were critical of the limited facilities and long queuing times at the town’s only current post office within the Tesco Express store on Pear Tree Road.
Managers at Post Office Ltd have so far rejected calls for a larger post office in Bradley Stoke, saying they believe the present facility is adequate and claiming that an additional branch at the Willow Brook Centre would harm the viability of post offices in neighbouring areas.
Tesco has said it doesn’t wish to close the Pear Tree Road post office because it is “incredibly popular”. It says it would have no objection to the Post Office opening an additional branch at the Willow Brook Centre but claims there is no space to accommodate it within the Tesco Extra store there.
Ms Tarling agreed to address this week’s meeting after Councillors attending the Planning Committee meeting in July expressed disappointment at the latest negative response from the Post Office.
In an open letter to The Journal, Committee member Cllr Tom Aditya urges residents to attend Wednesday’s meeting in order to demonstrate the high level of community support for a larger post office.
Cllr Aditya writes:
“Commercial businesses, such as the Post Office, should respect the wishes of the community and work with the community. This is a community issue and the town needs the support of all its residents. Let us come together and make our appeal for a fully-fledged post office more meaningful.”
Open letter to The Journal from Cllr Tom Aditya
Historically, our town during its infancy had two sub-post offices, one near Baileys Court Pub in Bradley Stoke South and another at Pear Tree Road in Bradley Stoke North. At that time, Bradley Stoke town centre hadn’t been developed in a fully-fledged manner. During the course of our town’s development, Tesco took over the convenience store near Baileys Court Pub and eventually we lost the post office there. Since then we have been constrained to just one sub-post office, in Bradley Stoke North.
In view of the fact that Bradley Stoke doesn’t have a fully-fledged post office, residents have been compelled to commute to other post offices for fulfilment of their various post office requirements. This troubles our people a lot, especially the elderly and the numerous citizens who depend upon public transport
This is the reason why we started the campaign for a fully-fledged post office in Bradley Stoke. As all of you know, Bradley Stoke is a modern town with quite a substantial population. The latest estimate reveals that there are more than 27,000 residents in Bradley Stoke.
Last year, under the auspices of the Town Council, we undertook a public consultation/survey regarding the post office issue and we received overwhelming support from the residents and survey participants. The consultation put forward the proposal for a fully-fledged post office at the Willow Brook Centre, as that would be much more convenient for all the residents of Bradley Stoke and its neighbouring areas. A Post office with passport and identity checking, biometric enrolment facility, licences, vehicle tax and counter money services would bring additional customers to the post office. As more people made use of these services, the viability, sustainability and profitability of such a post office would also increase. In the light of this, we approached the Post Office last year with our requests, but regrettably they rejected our suggestions.
We asked for a review of that decision, but that has also been refused. Even though Post Office officials acknowledged that such a post office would be commercially viable, they declined to take our suggestions forward as they were giving higher priority to the commercial and business interests of post offices in neighbouring areas rather than the community interests of Bradley Stoke.
Nevertheless, we can see that many nearby towns, some with a population lower than Bradley Stoke, benefit from better post office facilities. For example., Keynsham, which has a slightly lower population than Bradley Stoke, has got a Crown Post office on its High Street (BS31 1DY) and one sub-post office (39 Chandag Road BS31 1PW). Similarly, Portishead has this year been given permission to open its second post office.
Unfortunately, our town has not yet been given its true importance by the authorities. Despite the fact that everyone agrees that a fully-fledged post office is a necessity in Bradley Stoke, our lack of community spirit means that we are not still even getting our legitimate amenities.
The Post Office’s South West Senior Stakeholder Manager Ms Laura Tarling is coming to Bradley Stoke to explain in person the organisation’s view as to why our application was rejected and to explain why we have to utilise the nearby post offices. Ms Tarling will attend the Town Council’s Planning Committee meeting at 7:30pm on Wednesday t24th of October 2012 at the Jubilee Centre. There will be an opportunity for residents to air their views pertaining to this issue at the start of the meeting. Critically, this is is likely to be our last opportunity to demonstrate to the Post Office how much our town needs a fully-fledged post office.
As this issue directly or indirectly affects all the residents of this town in some shape or form, now or in the future, a unified demand and support for such a post office would help our town in its campaign. On behalf of the Community, it would be good if you can turn up and showcase your support this Wednesday evening.
Commercial businesses, such as the Post Office, should respect the wishes of the community and work with the community. This is a community issue and the town needs the support of all its residents. Let us come together and make our appeal for a fully-fledged post office more meaningful.
Cllr Tom Aditya
Post office campaigner Tom Aditya pictured in front of the Tesco Express store at Bradley Pavillions prior to his election as a Town Councillor.
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