badly by Post Office franchises says CWU
PLANS announced by the Post
Office to franchise 70 Crown post offices will cut
the Crown network by 20 per cent and more than 700 Post Office
staff. Liverpool fares especially badly with five Crown Post Offices
affected. They are: Breck Road, Huyton, Kirkby, Old Swan, and
CWU general secretary Billy Hayes called the move a "partial
destruction of the Crown network" and raised concerns about
access to services and survival of the post office network.
Billy Hayes said:- "Today's announcement to franchise 70 Crown
Post Offices – affecting over 700 Post Office staff – is a huge blow
to the network. Staff will be in shock today at the scale of what
will effectively be closures of Crown post offices across the
country. It's a particularly high proportion in Liverpool and we
fear that communities will feel the loss of the Post Office very
This move will have a huge impact on the high streets of small towns
earmarked to lose their Crown Post Office. These offices provide a
dedicated specialist service to communities which will not be
replicated by a window or two in a bigger shop. We've seen problems
with access to post office services in previous franchise
arrangements and fear this announcement could create further
barriers to accessing a range of post office services.
It leaves huge questions about the future of the Post Office – how
can it realistically deliver services for passport applications,
identity services and a range of financial services while being
dramatically pruned back? What does it mean for Metropolitan Police
plans to move into London Post Offices? What will it mean for the
health of the high street and the many small business who rely on
Crown offices for postage and banking services?
This move could be very damaging to the future potential of the
network. And with no meaningful consultation with the union, our
members have had this situation imposed upon them. This flies in the
face of Post Office and government strategy to move to a culture of
mutualisation. We're strongly urging the Post Office to re-think these
proposals and consider the future of the network, the communities it
serves and the services it provides. At a time when the government
is investing £1.34 billion in the Post Office, PO management's
imagination is limited and all they can think about is cutting costs
and reducing services - where are the plans for growth?"
Some parts of the country fare especially badly in the proposals:-
Wales:- 8 out 20 offices (Camarthen, Holyhead, Holywell, Llangefni,
Morrison, Neath, Port Talbot, Rhyl)
Scotland: 5 out of 25 offices (Alloa, Cumbernauld, East Kilbride,
Northern Ireland:- 2 out of 8 offices (Antrim and Ballymena)
London:- 13 offices (Balham, East Dulwich, East Finchley, Eastcote,
Great Greenford, Heathway, Holloway, Laindon, Potters Bar, Raynes
Park, Rye Lane, Swiss Cottage, Wallington)
Liverpool:- 5 offices (Breck Road, Huyton, Kirkby, Old Swan, Prescot)
Manchester:- 5 offices (Didsbury Village, Gorton, Salford City,
One post office is in David Cameron's constituency of Witney.
Another is in the seaside town of Whitstable in Kent which is
currently fighting to save its Royal Mail delivery office from
In a recent report (published November 2012), postal watchdog
Consumer Focus criticised the performance of post offices franchised
to WHSmith. They were the worst performer on queue times and scored
badly on quality of service and accessibility.
Crowns performed the best on accessibility and showed the most
significant improvement since 2009 as well as scoring highly on
quality of service.
See the full report by clicking on
As of March 2012 there were 409 franchised branches with companies
like WHSmith, Spar and Tesco.
There are 370 Crown offices currently in the UK. These are the
bigger high street offices directly managed by the Post Office.
The total post office network size is 11,800 as a mixture of Crowns,
subs and franchises.
In the last year 150 jobs have been taken out of the Crown network.
This along with other measures will save the Post Office £9miilion a
year. CWU and Unite are working to help reduce costs in the Post
Office. The union has also cooperated on branch mergers and
trialling new models with view to making savings while improving
NEW GREEN SPACE
FOR HESKETH BANK
LOCAL residents will soon
have the chance to enjoy the outdoor life in a newly created
Community Garden in Hesketh Bank. Following the hugely popular
scheme to redevelop the Poor Marsh allotments on Shore Road, work to
develop a one acre area in the middle of the allotment site began in
early in January and is now nearing completion.
The Community Garden called New Shoots will include a woodland
walkway lined with edible fruit trees and bushes and will also
incorporate a number of features specifically designed to provide a
rich habitat for native wildlife. These will include a large pond, a
bee keeping area, a wetland and a wild flower area. The community
garden will also be used as an outdoor event space and has its first
show at 7.30pm on 7 June when Mikron, a travelling theatre company,
stage 'Beyond the Veil', a play about bee keeping.
As well as offering a pleasant environment in which to wander and
relax, New Shoots will also give people the chance to get involved
in the increasingly popular Community Food Growing movement by
providing a large poly tunnel and raised bed area and will help
people learn more about permaculture and sustainable gardening
The bulk of the work has been jointly funded by Hesketh with
Becconsall Parish Council and The Lancashire Environmental Fund with
some additional funding from the Green Partnership. It has been
project managed by Lancashire County Council, who also made a
Local resident, Viv Aldred, Chair, New Shoots Management Committee,
commented:- "We are very excited to be getting this wonderful
new community facility and we hope that lots of local people will
get involved. The construction work is now virtually complete and we
are about to embark on a huge planting scheme. We have already had
offers of help from the local High School, Youth Club and Scouts and
we would also like to involve lots of families and anyone who lives
alone and might like to come to a friendly place where they can meet
Planting days for the whole community will begin during half term
week with the first two sessions planned for Tuesday 19th and
Wednesday 20th February between 11.00 a.m. and 2.00 p.m.
Refreshments will be provided for all volunteers. Anyone wishing to
get involved should go to on the Poor Marsh car park on Shore Road
opposite All Saints School or telephone the New Shoots Secretary,
Chris Derby on 07754 395142.
For further information contact Steve Kirby on 07766 367550
civic send off
LIVERPOOL's Lord Mayor,
Councillor Sharon Sullivan will present the Liverpool City Shield to
a brave group of volunteers taking part in the 'Arctic Heroes
Challenge' on Monday 11 February. The shield will then be
presented to the Lord Mayor of Nordkapp as a goodwill gesture from
the people of Liverpool during their trip.
A number of those involved in the challenge will accept the shield
from the Lord Mayor, Councillor Sharon Sullivan at Exchange Flags
where they will also be taking ownership of a brand new jeep which
has been loaned to them for the expedition.
Councillor Sharon Sullivan said:- "Help for Heroes is a very
worthy cause and I wish everyone involved in this highly physical
and emotional challenge the best of luck.
I am delighted to be sending them off to Norway with the Liverpool
City Shield as a token of friendship, I am sure they will receive a
fantastic welcome in Nordkapp."
The group will be driving from the UK and crossing the Arctic Circle
in the northern region of Norway, aiming to reach the northernmost
point of Europe at North Cape (Nordkapp).
At this point only the Svalbard Islands will separate the expedition
from the North Pole on the Polar Ice Cap in the Arctic Ocean. This
will be done in temperatures as low as minus 30degrees celsius. The
team are also planning to wild camp at some of the locations
en-route as they make their way through Norway to the tip of Europe.
The group have already managed to raise over £13,000 for Help for
Heroes and hope to hit their target of £20,000 by the time they
leave in March.
Anyone wanting more information or to make a donation can do so by
and a donation site at:-