Campaign starts to save Rye Lane’s Crown Post Office

News Desk (16 June, 2016)

A councillor has said reasons previously given by the Post Office for needing to close were a red herring

8189Peckham Rye Lane Post Office

 

 A campaign to save the Crown Post Office in Rye Lane has been set up by councillors and residents.

The Post Office told the News in March it would need to abandon its premises because the landlord of its building had planned to convert its first floor into flats.

But campaigners have learnt that the Post Office intends to close its branch, despite previous suggestions it could be saved if a new, big enough site was found.

Lane ward councillor Nick Dolezal said: “People are really angry. The Post Office are seemingly reneging on their previous position, where it looked like we were going to continue having a Crown Post Office.

“The consultation period is over but local people will be collecting signatures and going to social media to make their voices heard. We will also be trying to involve the Secretary of State for Business and Innovation [Sajid Javid]. People deserve a Crown Post Office that can provide confidential, secure services.”

The Post Office has told the News that it would have to close because developers Allview Estates Ltd’s building works would take one year. They said being closed for this period of time would make the Post Office branch “unviable”.

Nick said the problem could have been remedied by Southwark Council’s offer to help them find a temporary premises.

“The Post Office were encouraged to look for sites within the community and they have not done so. We believe it was a red herring,” Nick said. “Southwark Council said it would be willing to discuss with them what other properties could be suitable. The council have also suggested a temporary site if need be. Everyone was led to believe they had the intention of returning to the site, but they have said they are now going to withdraw.”

The News approached the Post Office for a response. A spokeswoman for the Post Office was only able to confirm it would close in August, and did not address the point that it did not appear to have sought help with finding a temporary space, which would allow them to move back to Rye Lane.

She said: “The developer’s proposition put to the Post Office meant we would have to vacate the site for a year and that is not commercially viable for us (in addition the plan put to us regarding the new development was not suitable). We are therefore closing the Post Office because we are being evicted.  As a result we’ve carefully considered our provision in the area and we believe the surrounding area has enough Post Office service provision to meet demand. But we did explore (and advertised for) potential interest for a retailer in the area to consider running a Local Post Office branch (a smaller branch) but no suitable potential partner has come forward.”

 

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