‘A cruel and stupid decision’: Campaigners continue fight to save post office after ‘sham’ consultation

Campaigners have vowed to continue fighting to keep one of South London’s last remaining Crown post offices open following the announcement it will be closed in March.

Last week, Post Office announced the Clapham Common branch, in Clapham High Street, will close on March 6, after a six-week public consultation.

Following the announcement, campaigners took a petition with more than 6,000 signatures to 10 Downing Street to urge Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to step in on behalf of the community.

A Communication Workers Union (CWU) spokesman said: “It is obvious that the Post Office consultation process is a sham. 

“They have taken absolutely no notice of the needs of the community. 

“Hopefully the Government will see sense and stop this closure and prevent Clapham, like many others, becoming a postal desert”. 

Clapham residents Debbie Novak and Johnny Vaughan present their petition to 10 Downing Street (Picture: Mole Meade)

Despite only representing one per cent of the postal network, Crown post offices are responsible for 20 per cent of all Post Office business, as well as processing 40 per cent of financial services mail.

The Post Office said there were four alternative offices independently run by sub-postmasters – Balham Hill, Cedars, Alfriston Road and Balham – which residents can use.

But union members, MPs, councillors, celebrities and Clapham residents have said they will continue campaigning in an attempt to overturn the decision.

Clapham resident and actor Miriam Margolyes said: “Closing Clapham Crown post office is a cruel and stupid decision which deliberately removes an essential service from Clapham citizens. 

“No coherent reason has been given. We need our post office. Please pull yourselves together and keep it open.”

A poster announcing plans to march against the closure on Saturday (Picture: Mole Meade)

In a stand against the “damaging proposal” a protest march has also been arranged for Saturday from Voltaire Road to Clapham Common Temperance Fountain.

A Post Office spokesman said:“A public consultation ran in line with our Principles of Community Engagement that have been agreed with Citizens Advice, and which are published online . Information was also displayed in branch for customers. 

 “As with all Post Office public consultations, feedback received is reviewed thoroughly with each comment received carefully considered.  We have published our decision and the outcome of the public consultation online including a summary of the key issues raised in the consultation and our response to each of them.

“We provide all consultation feedback to our Consumer Champions, Citizens Advice for their independent review. We will continue to work with the postmasters at surrounding branches to make sure that they are ready to meet the additional footfall and maintain the high quality of service our customers are used to. We will monitor waiting times and usage at the alternative branches to ensure customer needs are met.”

Pictured top: From left, Clapham resident Debbie Novak, MP Florence Eshalomi, CWU Clive Tickner, CWU Mole Meade, Johnny Vaughan, MP Bell Ribeiro-Addy and councillors David Robson and Alison Williams (Picture: Mole Meade)

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