Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Barkingside Crown Post Office under threat

There are plans to close Barkingside Crown Post Office and replace it with a downgraded franchised branch
in one of the shops in the High Street (similar to the one in WH Smith in The Exchange Ilford). They hope to attract shop owners, on the basis that they have the chance to increase the footfall in their shop.

Barkingside is part of a plan to close 70 crown post offices which amounts to 20% of the network. At present we do not believe they have identified a retail partner for the franchising and no date has been set for closure. There is an active local campaign against these plans including action from the staff in Barkingside including strike action and a petition (it's behind the counter in the branch, online here or download a copy here and ask friends/neighbours to sign).

But why should we be worried about the closure of the Crown Post Office if it is to be replaced by something similar?

Helpfully the CWU have provided some answers to common questions about these plans which you can download here. The changes could have a huge impact on the service you receive, as it could result in your Post Office being relocated in the corner of a shop with smaller space and fewer counters. This could make the Post Office more difficult to access for the elderly, disabled and parents with children in buggies.

There is also concern about the quality of the service in franchised Post Offices. In a recent report (click here for the full report published November 2012), postal watchdog Consumer Focus criticised the performance of Post Offices franchised to WHSmith. They scored the worst on queue times and scored badly on quality of service and accessibility. Interestingly the Crown Post Offices performed the best on accessibility and showed the most significant improvement since 2009 as well as scoring highly on quality of service.

In addition, more than likely, the new office will recruit fewer numbers of it's own staff that will probably be on lower terms and conditions. This could, in turn mean wage cuts and less money circulating in the area. It will result in the loss of committed, dedicated and well trained staff.

Finally this plan is another worry for the health of the High Street and the many small businesses who rely on Crown Post Offices for their skills, expertise and experience as well as the passing trade from a busy Crown Post Office.

Please get involved with this campaign and help protect this valuable resource for our community.

UPDATE: There will be a public meeting on 17th September - details here.


  1. Consumer Focus says it all viz W H Smith...
    The Crown Post Office in Barkingside must stay. Users are people not STORKS!!!!

  2. It's just unbelievable isn't it? Sadly it isn't, though. This phony plea from every public service that shortage of cash forces them to lay off various skilled workers by the thousand is being made time and time again. It all started when the U.S.A. banks came severely unstuck. The domino effect of this belief-defying financial catastrophe has lasted for something like three years or more and it will continue to be quoted by the asset strippers for many more years. The reasons they give are mostly spurious. The only possible basis for this kind of economy is pure profit. The fewer staff you have to pay the more money the bosses can pocket. What a magnificent band-wagon to jump on and it's all been handed to them on a plate by Messrs. Cameron and Co!

    Why not close down half the underground stations? People can always walk. Good for 'em innit? Why not 'go green' and take out 50% of the buses. Get a bike you lazy people! Why not lay off half the staff at the airports? Another two hours queuing a will teach them a lesson to holiday in the U.K. And look how much more money we'll be able to pocket.

    Sickening, isn't it?

    1. Apparently Boris is planning to close the ticket offices at all Underground Stations.
      Plus driverless trains have been mentioned ...

    2. Forgive me for asking, but did not the financial crisis begin when Brown was PM and Darling the Chancellor? I'm far from being a Cameron fan but please let's be reasonably accurate.

  3. It is my view that it is essential to retain Barkingside
    Post Office in its present location as this service is a basic requirement for a High Street
    In recent years we have seen the reduction of many small
    post office facilities to make savings and is this not another round if Crown Offices are to be located within
    shops.Beware if you do not use the service you will lose this vital service
    As an independent councillor I will fight to retain this service
    Hsrold Moth

  4. Thank you, Harold. Riding to the rescue as always but I fear that over all opposition the profit motive will ultimately win. It always does mate.

    I take your point Morris but I don't really think G.B. was responsible for the collapse of the USA banking system and it is not G.B. or even the dreaded Tony who is screaming blue murder that we can't afford this and we can't afford that while at the same time planning to spend untold billions on a completely unnecessary railway and heaven knows how much on useless wind farms. Yes, I am aware that the high speed railway was first mooted by Cameron's predecessors but in the face of public opposition I believe they have since changed their minds. Otherwise - sssh! - I usually agree with you on most things.

    1. With you all the way on HS2 and wind farms. HS2 is a vanity project for Cameron, and wind farms are part of his pathetic attempts to be "green".

      And it looks like we're about to spend more non-existent money taking on the role of policing the world. Syria has nothing to do with us - just as Iraq did not.

    2. My windometer indicates that B21 are sitting on a fortune ...

  5. rather a pathetic plan it is obvious that there is a need for a big post office in Barkingside as the queue's will tell you,and a lot of people do not like going to Ilford as it is not what it used to be,and i for one do not like to be reminded of how the rest of the country will look in the future if it carries on the way its being allowed to go as Ilford does,nor does it feel safe any more
    i must say i agree with wind farms better this than my grandchildren's government being held to ransom by middle eastern or Russian companies for the energy that they are going to need.hs2 scrap the idea too wont be long until cars can go faster and some kid wont chuck something in the path of them.

  6. All those who want to save this valuable community resource should come to the public meeting in the Hainault Room, Fullwell Cross Library on Tuesday 17th September 2013, from 6:30pm to 8:30pm - http://ow.ly/oxWhL

    Matt Goddin

  7. I fear it may be later than we think. Manford Way post office (which has a greater floor area than Barkingside) is temporarily closed. For a major upgrade. Call me a conspiracy theorist if you will, but I don't think it bodes well.

    1. Dear conspiracy theorist

      The planning application for 203-205 Manford Way made in 2011 was for a "new shop front with ATM". The plans also appear to provide for division of the premises to become a post office and separate shop unit - so, if not the end, then the thin end of the wedge.

    2. The work has reached the stage where the original area has been divided into two with a new wall. Half is being fitted out as a post office, and the other half appears to be a money transfer agency.

      The original post office could be very crowded at busy times. The refurbished, reduced size one should bring a whole new meaning to the expression "intimate atmosphere"!!!

  8. Some things in life are sacred, our Post Office's [the Post Office] being just one of many.

    Even on a quite day you'll often see the queue into the Post Office coming outwards and covering the entire pavement.

    And when these these types of Post Offices are sold-on-handed over to some local business person; - it's obviously not going to be in their interest to employ as many staff as it presently does, - so you can imagine, the queue will probably run as far as the other Post Office in Ilford town centre!