Post Office confirms East Finchley franchise will go ahead

Councillor Alison Moore who helped collect signatures last month outside East Finchley Post Office, alongside resident Rachel McKenna with her daughter Chyna, Councillor Arjun Mittra and Sarah Sackman.

Councillor Alison Moore who helped collect signatures last month outside East Finchley Post Office, alongside resident Rachel McKenna with her daughter Chyna, Councillor Arjun Mittra and Sarah Sackman.

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Despite relentless efforts from campaigners, it has been announced that East Finchley Post Office will be relocated in May.

The branch will move from its current location in Viceroy Parade when it is franchised to Universal Office Equipment (UOE) Ltd in High Road on May 22.

A campaign was set up in a bid to prevent the move, claiming it would be detrimental to staff and the quality of service.

Some also raised concern about access to the new Post Office which will be up three steps, with a handrail and a platform lift inside the UOE store.

The Communication Workers Union (CWU), which represents staff in Crown Post Offices, launched the campaign, which was backed by Barnet borough councillors, GLA member Andrew Dismore and prospective Parliamentary candidate Sarah Sackman.

Huw Davies, a CWU representative, said the Post Office should “listen to the voice of the customer” and not go ahead with the franchise.

He said: “Amongst many other issues, we have three main concerns about the Post Office’s proposals including the lack of adequate facilities provided on reloc ation to new premises, the detrimental impact on the service provided to the public, and no guarantee of long-term service provision by the franchisee.

“In particular, we have highlighted the issue of questionable access facilities in the new premises for customers using wheelchairs and walking frames, who have mobility problems, as well as mothers with prams, push chairs and children’s buggies. 

“The CWU are prepared to embrace longer opening hours, but the Post Office haven’t even discussed these options with us here.

“We are still asking all residents of East Finchley to continue to voice their opposition to the Post Office’s plans before the franchise goes ahead.”  

Two petitions containing a total of more than 2,350 signatures were also handed to the Post Office calling for a halt to the plans.

But the national postal chain has stuck to its franchising plans after considering opinions raised during the consultation process.

A Post Office spokesman said: “Post Office services will be available from the retail counter on the ground level of the new East Finchley post office. This serving point will open for longer than the main Post Office counters and will offer the same wide range of products, with the exception of high-value transactions.

“It will also mean that post office services will be available alongside retail transactions seven days a week, so customers could, for example, post a parcel, get their travel insurance and take advantage of UOE’s services all in one go on a Sunday morning.

“Access to the main post office area will be via three steps with a handrail and a customer platform lift. Customer platform lifts are widely used in retail outlets and are designed to be fully accessible for wheelchair, prams and pushchairs.”

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