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By May 17, 2021 Read More →

Axbridge Chamber of Commerce News: Campaign to keep open the Royal Mail Sorting Office in Axbridge

The sorting office is next to the Town Hall

Below is our letter to the Royal Mail

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Campaign to keep open the Royal Mail Sorting Office in Axbridge

The Axbridge Sorting Office has been given notice of just 12 weeks that it will close and be relocated to Winscombe.

Without the sorting office the Post Office is likely to be unviable and could eventually be forced to close. The Chamber has 40 members with every business reliant on the Post Office for sending and receiving parcels. It cannot be underestimated how important the Post Office is as a centre for the community bringing people together and as a stationery and general goods shop.

The sorting office itself employs key workers all of whom would have to drive to Winscombe several miles away if the office is relocated there. For years, the office has operated perfectly well with no disruption to the town providing jobs and opportunities for residents. However, it is the potential loss of the Post Office itself which has alarmed the Chamber, the residents and their political representatives as it would be a hammer blow to the town.

Call to action:

Together with the town council and political representatives and all community groups we in the Chamber are asking Royal Mail to suspend the closure and consult with all interested parties.

The Chamber of Commerce is also asking all those affected to lobby the various individuals and organisations that could bring pressure on Royal Mail to halt the closure.

This can be done by signing the petition at the Post Office.

Plus:

Writing to Simon Thompson CEO of the Royal Mail, Royal Mail headquarters in 100 Victoria Embankment, London, EC4Y 0HQ

Writing to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, whose name is linked to Royal Mail, at Buckingham Palace, London

Writing to your MP James Heappey c/o House of Commons, London or email him at james.heappey.mp@parliament.uk

Emailing the Town council: Vicky.Brice@axbridge-tc.gov.uk

Emailing Sedgemoor District Council (Duncan McGinty is the leader of the council office@somersetconservatives.com)

Emailing Sedgemoor District councillors Graham Godwin at graham.godwin-pearson@sedgemoor.gov.uk and Liz Scott at moorlandfm@btinternet.com

Thank you, Harry Mottram

Secretary of the Axbridge Chamber of Commerce

Open Letter to: Simon Thompson CEO of the Royal Mail, Royal Mail headquarters in 100 Victoria Embankment, London, EC4Y 0HQ.

17th May 2021

Dear Simon Thompson

I’m writing to you on behalf of the Axbridge Chamber of Commerce to request that the planned closure of the sorting office in Axbridge is halted due to its potential impact on the town’s life.

Without the sorting office the Post Office is likely to be unviable and could eventually be forced to close. The Chamber has 40 members with every business reliant on the Post Office for sending and receiving parcels. It cannot be underestimated how important the Post Office is as a centre for the community bringing people together and as a stationery and general goods shop.

The sorting office itself employs key workers all of whom would have to drive to Winscombe several miles away if the office is relocated there. For years, the office has operated perfectly well with no disruption to the town providing jobs and opportunities for residents. However, it is the potential loss of the Post Office itself which has alarmed the Chamber, the residents and their political representatives as it would be a hammer blow to the town.

We appreciate you are in post to oversea the Royal Mail’s turnaround plan to improve profitability but the knock-on effect of the closure of the sorting office would have the same economic effect that Dr Beeching’s closure of the town’s railway had in the 1960s. Short-term saving but causing a long-term economic hit.

As the secretary of the Chamber, I request in the strongest possible terms for you to at least put on hold the closure and review the situation after consulting with those who it would most effect.

Yours sincerely

Harry Mottram

Secretary of the Axbridge Chamber of Commerce

31 Old Church Road, Axbridge, Somerset BS26 2BE

harryfmottram@gmail.com   07789864769

Letter from the Axbridge Postmaster

The Post Office

St Marys Street

Axbridge

BS262BN

16th May2021

Axbridge Town Council

Re: Closure of Axbridge Sorting Office

 I’m sure you remember that back in August 2018 Royal Mail tried to remove the sorting office from Axbridge Post Office and relocate the Postal staff to Winscombe delivery office. With the help of the Town Council and local MP we were able to get the decision reversed, therefore securing the future of the Post Office in Axbridge.

Unfortunately, I understand from the local Postal staff that they intend to try again. Absolutely nothing has changed in the last 3 years in terms of the sorting office providing essential income for the Post Office business. However I believe that under a new contract between Post Office and Royal Mail, Post Office now have no final veto on the plan. Historically the veto was put in place to avoid exactly this situation, when the income from the sorting office is essential to the viability and future of the Post Office counter.

I’ve had no correspondence or verbal notification from Royal Mail regarding their plan, but understand from the local staff that Royal Mail are saying that “service obligations “are not being met. This basically means that not all mail is being delivered every day. As you know many business have faced staffing issues throughout the Pandemic, Axbridge sorting office being no different.

It does seem unjust to use such a reason considering what has happened in the last 12 months.

Any move to Winscombe would also result in a dramatic decrease in the level of service regarding the collection of mail from the sorting office. Items needing a signature or large items with no safe place to be left would be taken back to Winscombe delivery office located on the Sanford Road, on the far side of Winscombe. Currently mail can be collected from the Post Office whenever it is open. The proposed plan would reduce this to 2 hours a day between 8 am and 10 am, slightly longer on Saturdays. A short sighted move with the increase in online shopping.

The environmental implications should also be taken into account. All the postal staff will require their own delivery van and that van will need to be driven from Winscombe and back every day. Those  twelve journeys will only be a small proportion of the number of people driving from Axbridge, Weare, Allerton, Badgworth, Biddisham, Rooksbridge, Loxton, Compton Bishop and Cross to Winscombe to collect mail, only to find out the sorting office closed for collections.

Without any official notification from Royal Mail it’s very hard to decide on the next step, perhaps a ploy by Royal Mail. I do however believe the move is planned within the next 12 weeks.

Any assistance you could provide would be greatly appreciated.

Regards

Richard Helps

Postmaster

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