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Postal service being cut back

News that the newly privatised Royal Mail is to cut back postal services in Crawley has prompted Cllr Geraint Thomas to take up the issues.  He writes: 

If you want a letter to be delivered the following day, pay 62p for the stamp but also get up early or find somewhere to post it outside your Neighbourhood!

Royal Mail plc is intending to withdraw late collections from September 18th from almost 100 postboxes in Crawley so that letters would be collected only once a day – perhaps as early as 9am. This is justified as a cost (presumably labour) saving measure and is offered as the only alternative to getting rid of post boxes altogether.

In Northgate, the five post boxes I am aware of (London Road, Woolborough Lane, Midgley Road, Oakway and Northgate Parade) will lose their afternoon collection and in each case the alternative specified by Royal Mail plc still with an afternoon collection is outside the Neighbourhood – North Road in Three Bridges, Windmill Court in West Green and The Boulevard in the town centre. Northgate residents simply wishing to post an urgent letter after 9am will now have to cross busy main roads (Northgate Avenue and London Road) or make their way to the town centre. What has happened to one of the most important planning principles of the New Town whereby day to day needs are provided within the Neighbourhoods?

There are other issues here. These post boxes were identified by a Royal Mail plc survey which showed that they ‘regularly’ had less than 50 letters posted. How ‘regular’ is regular? No doubt the less-used post boxes are currently balanced by the heavily-used ones. First class letters are supposed to be delivered the next working day; it looks like this aim is only likely to be achieved if Northgate (and other Crawley) residents go out of their way (possibly adding to traffic congestion by driving) to post letters outside their Neighbourhood. What about those getting on in years and/or with limited mobility who do not conduct their business and social communications via the internet?

Has there been any consultation by the Royal Mail plc about this change, for instance with the Borough Council or County Council or the residents of Crawley? Who does one write to express an opinion on this?

Geraint Thomas

Northgate Borough Councillor

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