Wednesday, September 17, 2008

St Johns Post Office Axed

The axe has fallen on St John's Hills Road, as the Post Office has announced that it will definitely be closing. The branch is likely to close in about 4 weeks time, and there appears to be no further opportunity to appeal against this appallingly short-sighted decision. Only one of the 23 threatened post offices in Cambridgeshire was saved (at Great Gransden), and as predicted this was replaced by an additional closure at Thriplow. The Government has forced the Post Office to shut 2,500 post offices around the Country, resulting in today's blow.

I cannot quite believe that the Post Office has ignored the evidence presented to it. This post office is in an area of huge growth, in a City that is growing rapidly as a whole. It will leave large parts of South Cambridge even further from their nearest post office, and the local Post Office on Cherry Hinton Road isn't even open at lunch times. This is another kick in the teeth to Coleridge residents from the Government, after the £1.3m 'Cambridge Tax' that will be added to local Council Tax bills to pay for the botched concessionary bus fares scheme - Gordon Brown's policies really are delivering one blow after another for Cambridge residents.

There are also going to be some pretty annoyed students who left for the holidays unaware of the threat, and who will return to find their local post offices about to shut up shop.

The Post Office's full decision is available here. They commented on St Johns:

The main concerns expressed by respondents during the local public consultation regarding our proposal to close this branch related to the potential impact on the local community of the proposed closure, as respondents said that the branch serves a large residential area and several schools and colleges. Respondents also expressed concern for elderly customers, who it was said would face a long walk to the alternative branches or would have to pay for transport to travel to those branches.

Respondents also stated that there are a number of planned developments in the area, including residential housing and student accommodation. A petition was also submitted during the local public consultation, opposing the proposed closure. Post Office Limited has considered all responses received during the public consultation period and a review of this proposal has been undertaken.

There are four branches within one mile of Post Office® St Johns branch - the nearest alternative branch, Post Office® Cherry Hinton Road branch is just over half a mile away. Although there is no direct bus service between Post Office® Cherry Hinton Road branch and Post Office® St Johns branch, parking is available near that branch.

The second nearest alternative branch, Post Office® Hills Road branch, is located within a convenience store, has level access to assist customers and there is a regular bus service that runs between the this branch and Post Office® St Johns branch. Most buses have disabled access and there is free off-peak local bus travel for people over 60 or disabled passengers. There is also metered parking available opposite Post Office® Hills Road branch.

Post Office Limited has reviewed the capacity of both of the two nearest alternative branches to absorb the expected increase in customer numbers from the proposed closure of Post Office® St Johns branch and from planned developments and is satisfied that good service levels can be maintained.

Taking these and all other relevant factors into consideration, including the needs of our more vulnerable customers, Post Office Limited has decided to proceed with the proposed closure of Post Office® St Johns branch.

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