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New bidder in the frame for post office role

Campaigners told talks are being held

PUTTING UP A FIGHT: Whitstable delegation met senior staff of Post Office Ltd
PUTTING UP A FIGHT: Whitstable delegation met senior staff of Post Office Ltd

LOCAL businesses and residents have been told that Post Office Ltd is in talks with another potential franchisee about moving the current Crown service from Gladstone Road. The town’s politicians and residents met senior management in London on Wednesday, November 12 following concerns about the failed process to move the service to Budgens supermarket. During a two-hour meeting, the delegation was told that talks have now begun with another Whitstable business about transferring the service to a new location. Campaigner Julie Wassmer said Post Office Ltd mentioned that it was talking to a business that had expressed an interest when the plans were first revealed. Speaking about the meeting Stuart Jeffery, the Green Party Parliamentary Candidate for Whitstable, said:

“Last month, the Post Office nearly handed the franchise to Budgens, despite not knowing that the shop was in difficulty.”

Problem

“If the shop closed, what then for the Post Office branch at the back of the shop floor? The Post Office claims it will parachute a contingency in, but perhaps they should avoid the problem from the outset. We have to fight the concept of franchising and the best way is for businesses to stand together to say no to taking on the Post Office service.”

Cllr James Flanagan (Lib Dem) said:

“The meeting went well, and we made it clear that a Crown Post Office in Whitstable, with all the current services it provides, is vital. The Post Office is still looking to franchise the current service and we explained the concerns that many people have, should it be relocated to the High Street – not least access and parking. We also explained how local people felt about the recent consultation, and the fact that the process was not open and transparent.”

Post Office Ltd has committed to a future meeting with the delegation and has also agreed to offer a point of contact who will communicate with the President of Whitstable Chamber of Commerce, Brian Hitcham, on any future developments.

Herne Bay Gazette, November 19th 2014

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