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News - 26 May 2007

A cut too far? - Ship Street Post Office to close

Is this one step too far in the contraction of the local Post Office service? Brighton & Hove has seen the closure of so many of it's key post offices over the last few years that it is becoming quite difficult to find one still functioning. Ship Street was always the dependable last bastion.

David Lepper, Brighton Pavilion’s Labour and Co-operative Party MP, has raised in the House of Commons with Trade and Industry Secretary Alistair Darling concerns about the future of Ship Street Post Office, Brighton.

David Lepper says, “The plan is to close Ship Street office later this summer and transfer the business from the Crown Post Office there to the Churchill Square branch of WH Smith.

“This is part of a deal done nationally by WH Smith and Post Office Ltd. Obviously there could be benefits in the switch. But my concern is about the lack of consultation before the decision was taken. Although consultation by the Post Office is planned for next month it is clear that it will only be about the detail of the scheme.

“Questioning the Secretary of State in the Commons last Thursday (17 May) I told him ‘the concern of many small businesses in the Lanes and North Laine area of my constituency—the main customers of the Crown office, currently in Ship Street—is that its transfer to a WH Smith branch will make it less rather than more accessible for them. I believe that they are right.”

“There are also concerns about the possibility of job losses of Post Office staff and the range of services which will be available when the move takes place.

“Although it is said the plan will help to save Crown Post Offices, whenever I go into the Ship Street office it is always busy with long queues. As the Post Office will not issue details about the level of business at individual branches, I can’t help thinking in this case it is likely to be more about a lucrative financial deal for the Post Office Ltd. The Ship Street office is a prime city centre site.

“The Secretary of State offered to arrange a meeting with the Post Office Ltd about the plan and I will be taking up the offer.”

Businesses concerned about the closure of Ship Street Post Office should write to Soozie Campbell at expressing their views.

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