It is now a year on since the Post Office on Sidcup High Street shut its doors. Since June 2019 I’ve kept up the pressure to re-open a new branch recognising just how many people rely on having a Post Office in the local area and how important it is to have a branch on the High Street. The situation has been made even more pressing by the news that the ‘Happy Shopper’ in Station Road Sidcup will be withdrawing its Post Office counter services from April 2021. This is a further blow given that the Happy Shopper had been helping to fill the gap after the closure of the High Street branch. This means people in Sidcup will have to travel even further to access services from a local Post Office.
I therefore launched my ‘Sidcup needs a Post Office’ petition to put pressure on the Post Office to prioritise work to reinstate a Post Office on Sidcup High Street .The petition received over 1,000 responses from constituents which reflects the significant disruption the loss of Post Office services since last year has caused to local residents; alongside the wider impact this has had on our local High Street at a time when support and footfall is more needed.
I have now presented the petition to Post Office officials and Business Minister, Paul Scully MP who has responsibility for postal services. I recently virtually met with Post Office officials to emphasise the sense of community frustration at the loss of the Post Office and the importance of restoring the Post Office to provide a boost to Sidcup High Street. The Post Office provided assurance that they are committed to restoring Post Office services for Sidcup and there is still interest from an applicant Postmaster. I have also asked the Business Minister for his support and assistance to help restore our local Post Office, as well as asking for consideration to be given to potential funding and contractual changes to the Post Office model to ensure the long term sustainability of the Post Office and to increase the interest in becoming a Postmaster, particularly following the impact Covid-19 will have on High Streets and the shift to online services.
I would like to thank constituents for taking the time to support my petition which will be invaluable when adding extra pressure on the Post Office to reinstate our local Post Office. With all of the other competing pressures linked to the Coronavirus outbreak, it’s important we underline the urgency of seeing a branch re-opened not just for the benefit of the community but also to support Sidcup High Street at this time of recovery.