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Cllr Carole Mulroney's objection letter in reference post office in Leigh

July 27, 2017 8:44 PM
By Carole Mulroney

Councillor Carole Mulroney's open objection letter in response to the Post Office changes in Leigh-on-Sea

Carole Mulroney at Leigh Post Office

Cllr Mulroney at the current Post Office

Dear Sir,

I have considered very carefully the proposals being put forward by the Post Office for the provision of services in Leigh. As a Borough and Town Councillor for the ward I have also received correspondence from various residents (and I have urged them to respond) whose concerns I reflect in this letter.

First of all I should say that I are pleased and relieved that there will continue to be a Post Office in Leigh. With a rising population this is an important and vital service as we have many elderly residents who cannot just trot off into Southend or Rayleigh and we have a growing number of young families.

It is true to say that the Post Office in Leigh is a focal point for the community - and I am pleased to see you place community concerns highly in your consultation.

However, the proposals do raise a number of concerns for all age groups .

The proposed location is a very small convenience store in Broadway West, (and it will stay a convenience store although we understand that the major space will be the Post Office element). I have seen the layout plans for the new provision and it causes me some concern that there will be issues relating to queuing and accessibility for mobility impaired customers . It seems to me these two when put together create a conflict and manouevrebility situation especially if as was described there will be the usual barrier arrangement for queuing. I myself have queued in Southend's new Post Office back into the book department of WH Smiths.

There is no provision for an external post box. If the current boxes were relocated the lack of space available would make the pavement impassable. There is no explanation as to how that is to be managed. Will customers have to attend the Post Office and then still have to walk around to Rectory Grove to post their letters? Not good for the elderly or those with children to manage.

There is no on site parking and this is a road that is heavily parked with a taxi bay opposite, there are always people waiting for parking spaces and crossing the road at risk - it is a one way street and is heavily trafficked as it gives an exit point to the town through 2 roads. There is no provision for parking of PO vehicles for collection or delivery. By contrast the current Post Office has a very wide pavement, parking is less intense and there is a car park nearby.

As mentioned above Leigh is very much based on community. The staff in the Post Office are seen as 'friends' to many people and it was clear from the open forum discussion that there would potentially be loss of employment for them in Leigh.

Despite the stated reductions in usage there are few times at present when you go to the current post office that you do not have to queue to some degree and I can foresee queuing out the door in the new premises. This leads onto a narrow pavement and would hamper pedestrians, buggies and the disabled being hemmed in between queuing customers and close packed cars.

During particularly busy periods this will be exacerbated and there is no scope for expansion to cater for this. During peak holiday periods (and in this I include Christmas and New Year) when the Post Office is exceptionally busy anyway, one counter could be almost permanently inaccessible to general customers because of the use for foreign currency.

Is there no scope for a cash point. The current PO cash point is the only one west of the Broadway and is convenient for a large area of residents who do not necessarily want or need to go into the Broadway area with its parking and heavy traffic.

The convenience element of the store although smaller is to be placed at the rear, meaning non post office users will have to go through the queues to get to the rear.

It is fair to say that a very small number of people have expressed less concern but this is vastly outweighed by those whose concerns are reflected in this email.

I am sure you realise that these are strongly held views by many residents and would urge that they are taken into account in your deliberation as to whether or not this is the right decision for the community of Leigh.

Yours faithfully

Cllr Carole Mulroney

Southend Borough Councillor for Leigh Ward and Leigh Town Council for St Clement's Ward.