Post Office Closures Consultation
Meeting: 12/02/2008 - Cabinet (Item 31)
Report of the Executive Member for Economic and Commercial.
The Economic Development Officer presented the report which informed Members of the background to this matter, together with the actions and results of the survey undertaken since September 2007 following the Overview and Scrutiny Commission’s initial review of the post office closure programme.
The survey, conducted at the end of 2007, had consisted of nine questions. Out of 159 issued surveys 40 had been returned. An analysis of the results had been attached to the report at Appendix 3. Members were informed of a meeting with Post Office Ltd (POL) on 18 January 2008, which had been attended by the Chief Executive and Mr P Claussen, the Executive Member for Commercial Services.
Members were informed that POL’s proposals would be published by 26 March 2008.
It was noted that following the Overview and Scrutiny Commission meeting held on 24 January 2008, it had been agreed that a small Working Group of Members be appointed to assist Officers in this task to ensure as full and detailed information as possible was available.
The first meeting of the Group was being held in the afternoon following today’s full Council meeting.
The Overview and Scrutiny Chairman felt that the statistics for the survey that the Economic Development Officer had mentioned earlier were worrying but, like other surveys carried out by the Council, it was consistent and reflected the general feeling of the District.
The Executive Member for Commercial Services advised that the list of potential closures had already been determined and amounted to between 18% and 22% of Post Offices in the District. The consultation period was, in reality, about having the opportunity only to make the case for exceptions to that list. He recognised that the Government had to modernise and reshape the Post Office network but did not understand why at this time and at what cost to the more rural areas of the District. He highlighted the effect this matter would have on the Local Development Framework (LDF) which in itself was currently trying to bring together all the strands of development in the community.
Mr Goreham, the Opposition Leader agreed with the above points and felt that it was the duty of this Council to fight against closure where possible and mitigate against the loss of a service when necessary.
1) Now that the research had been undertaken and there was evidence to present to POL and Postwatch the Council was now open to submit a response during the pre-consultation stage. Therefore this option was to conclude this project by writing a statement to POL and Postwatch on behalf of the residents of Breckland outlining how it was against post office closures and include the evidence gathered. If members wanted to take this option they were asked what ‘strength of feeling’ the letter should take? For example, was the Council against all closures or would the Council specifically want to save the post offices in the LDF service centre villages? If this option was taken it would ... view the full minutes text for item 31