Saturday, 6 October 2007

Post Office closures in Maidstone

As we are sure you are aware, the post offices in Hardy Street and South Park are threatened with imminent closure. This is clearly an outrage that must be fought. The Royal Mail has enlisted management consultants who have identified our local post office as 'not viable'.

Hardy Street post office is an essential lifeline to many people: it serves as a focal point within our community and it is well run by well respected people. The alternative post offices are a mile away, too far for many people to walk and with only a half-hourly bus service, they are not suitable for people without a car. Hardy Street post office must not be allowed to close.

Post offices provide essential services for local residents and help build social cohesion in a town which sees communities becoming increasingly fragmented. Local post offices are especially important to those without cars and once again we see these people being made to suffer in the name of economics. This is discrimination against the one in five households who don't have a car and particularly affects the elderly.

While the post office claim that they have to subsidise our service, surely it is right that services such as these are subsidised. This is the purpose of taxation - it protects vulnerable people and provides others with good services and security.

The so-called 'consultation' period runs until 11th Nov. There are two things you can do. Best of all, write to the Network Development Manager who is leading the consultation - the address is below along with a template letter that you can use if you want to. Secondly, please sign the petition in the shop or electronically on the Maidstone Green Party website.

Write to:
Gary Herbert
Network Development Manager
Post Office Ltd
c/o National Consultation Team

Dear Mr Herbert,
Hardy Street [or South Park] post office provides an essential service to our community and must not be closed.
Our post office serves as a focal point within our community. This community will fragment without services such as a local post office.
The post office is essential to those without a car, these are often elderly people. The alternative post offices that you have suggested are approximately one mile from Hardy Street. The bus service to them is poor and infrequent making a round trip by bus take two hours. The walk to and from the alternative post offices will take at least an hour. [South Park distances to follow]
We live in an age of increasing danger from climate change and environmental pollution as well as increasing congestion on our roads. Your proposal will ensure that people are forced to use their cars for post office services, making a real negative impact to our environment.
It is right that services such as local post offices are subsidised. This is the purpose of taxation - it protects vulnerable people and provides others with good services and security for the future.
Please do not close our post office.

Yours faithfully

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