Royal Mail refuses Hampstead residents’ first class idea

Residents had offered to cover the cost, but Royal Mail still refuse to re-open the postbox on Hampstead High Street

ROYAL Mail has refused to reopen a disused postbox on Hampstead High Street despite residents offering to cover the cost.

Residents are desperate for a new postbox outside the post office, after its letterbox outside was closed last May for health and safety concerns.

An ornamental Penfold postbox opposite the branch is currently being restored by Royal Mail but despite a campaign by residents and councillors, bosses have refused to transform it for ordinary mail use.

Hampstead councillor Linda Chung said: “We will raise the funds to cover the cost of making it useable. I know so many people who want a postbox outside the office.”

Cllr Chris Knight added: “They simply refuse to re-open the old letterboxes, even though I offered to re-design them free. Everyone wants to see the Penfold box back in use. It is part of our heritage, and I don’t see any point in putting in new postboxes, which will clutter up our streets, while we have a perfectly good one available for use.”

However, Royal Mail has confirmed it will not be turning the Penfold box into a fully working one, even though it has just been taken away to be renovated.

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A spokeswoman said: “It has not been in use for years. We agreed to leave the box where it was as Camden Council did not want it removed. It will not be returning as a functioning box.”

Bob Leach, who removed the Penfold box on Monday, said: “It’s not difficult to convert it. The renovation I’m doing now costs around �1,000, and a full conversion would cost �2-�3,000.”

A spokeswoman for Camden Council said: “We don’t have any objection to the old box being opened. We suggested Royal Mail adjust the boxes they have already got.”