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St John’s Wood Post Office closure plans confirmed – service WILL move to Charlbert Street franchise despite local opposition

PUBLISHED: 14:01 10 October 2018 | UPDATED: 14:57 10 October 2018

Huw Davies, retired committee member Michael Whitehead and former PO worker Elizabeth Connolly (Pic: Polly Hancock)

Huw Davies, retired committee member Michael Whitehead and former PO worker Elizabeth Connolly (Pic: Polly Hancock)

Archant

Despite a campaign that saw a 4,000-name petition presented to Post Office Ltd and Westminster Council doing “everything it could”, bosses this morning announced they will be proceeding with the planned closure of the crown post office in St John’s Wood.

The Circus Road branch will be replaced by a franchised operation in SW Foods in Charlbert Street, and the company said the cross-town move would “secure the long-term viability” of postal services in St John’s Wood.

Campaigners have bemoaned the decision.

A spokesperson from the Comunication Workers’ Union (CWU) said: “The Post Office has completely ignored the views of the residents and businesses of St John’s Wood, together with their democratically elected local representatives.

“They have disregarded the overwhelming opposition to their plans and decided to provide an inferior service to the community.

“We do not believe that the franchised branch will be a successful undertaking for the new owner.”

Judith Morgan, 74, who has lived in St John’s Wood for 40 years, said: “It just makes me cynical. I don’t think they’ve listened to us, or read any of our letters, and I’m just sad that the consultation just seems to have been a tick-box exercise.”

Roger Gale, Post Office Ltd’s network and sales director, said: “The most effective way to secure the long-term viability of our services in St John’s Wood is through a retail partner.”

Last week, the manager of SW Foods denied an ongoing refurbishment was related to the move.

Yesterday, the Post Office confirmed the premises will undergo a complete internal refurbishment.

Christine Cowdray of the St John’s Wood Society said: ”We do not consider giving the franchise to SW Foods and moving the post office away from the high street to Charlbert Street a pragmatic solution.”

She said the society had written to the Post Office to query whether the consultation had followed due process.

She added: “We questioned why SW Foods in Charlbert Street would have begun the substantial work to its premises some weeks ago unless it had agreed terms with PO Ltd well before the consultation with the local community was concluded.”

The office in St John’s Wood will close on November 21, with the franchise opening the next day.

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