Essential supplies arriving weeks late as coronavirus restrictions hit Royal Mail

By Alexandra Warren

Residents are complaining that for the past six months post has been taking much longer to arrive than usual.

Since lockdown began in March, many people in in SE22 postcode have reported letters and packages delivered by Royal Mail have been delayed – sometimes for weeks at a time.

Homes and essential businesses in East Dulwich, parts of Dulwich Village and parts of Peckham Rye have been hit with bank and credit card statements and details of medical appointments arriving too late.

Essential supplies, such as medication and contact lenses, have also been affected – which has particularly hit those shielding or in self-isolation.

The issue has been caused by social distancing measures now in place in the delivery office.

Data provided by Royal Mail suggests the need for staff to remain 2m apart has cut capacity to process letters from 10,000 to 3,000 an hour, and larger items from 6.000 to 2,000 items an hour.

Sickness among staff may have also added to the difficulties.

There have been problems with mail distribution in the area since Royal Mail closed the Silvester Road delivery office in 2017.

All post for SE22 has been sorted at the SE15 office in Peckham – now serving two postcodes from the same building.

Helen Hayes, MP for Dulwich and West Norwood, who warned the closure of Silvester Road would lead to severe problems, has called on the leadership of Royal Mail to improve the services.

She said: “Royal Mail must urgently get a grip on the shocking service in SE22.

“Despite the hard work of our posties to deliver as much as possible, they are hamstrung by the lack of space and the long distances to travel to the further reaches of SE22.”

A Royal Mail spokesman said: “We are currently processing mail as normal at our Peckham delivery office.

“From the start of this crisis, we always said that despite our best endeavours, it is possible that some areas of the country may experience a reduction in service levels due to coronavirus-related absences and necessary social distancing measures at their local mail centre or delivery office.

“We have been working hard to deliver the most comprehensive service we can to all our customers in challenging circumstances throughout this period.

“We have introduced a number of social distancing measures to our operation to offer further protection for our colleagues and our customers. This includes launching contact free delivery, ensuring colleagues are two metres apart at all times and having one person in a van.

“We are proud of all our colleagues across the UK for helping to keep the nation connected in such challenging circumstances. We always endeavour to keep our customers as informed as we can of any changes to our services. We thank customers for their patience during this difficult time”.

Pictured top: Royal Mail has been experiencing difficulties with some deliveries during the pandemic


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