James Brokenshire has submitted his petition to restore Sidcup Post Office which received over 1,000 responses from constituents to Post Office officials and Paul Scully MP, Minister for Small Business, Consumers and Labour Markets who holds responsibility for postal affairs.
James presented the petition at a virtual meeting with Post Office officials where he emphasised 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 and local businesses. The Post Office provided assurance that they are committed to restoring Post Office services for Sidcup and have made this a priority.
The Post Office on Sidcup High Street temporarily closed on 28th June 2019 following the resignation of the Postmaster and the withdrawal of the premises. This has had a significant impact on the local community due to the reliance people placed on being able to access the services of the Post Office in Sidcup which was reflected in the number of people who used the previous branch, as well as the subsequent impact on the High Street.
The situation has been made even more pressing following the ‘Happy Shopper’ in Station Road Sidcup announcing it will be withdrawing its Post Office counter services from April next year. 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 would lead to Sidcup residents having to travel even further to access services from a local Post Office.
James has therefore been maintaining pressure on the Post Office to prioritise a replacement branch to minimise the disruption for local residents which is currently intended to be a Local Plus model.
James has also written to Paul Scully MP, Minister for Small Business, Consumers and Labour Markets asking for support to be provided to help restore our local Post Office, as well as asking what thought has been given to potential contractual arrangement and funding 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.
Commenting, James said:
“I would like to thank all the constituents who have taken the time to sign my petition to put pressure on the Post Office to prioritise work to reinstate a Post Office on Sidcup High Street. I recognise the significant disruption this 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 the Post Office and Business Minister, Paul Scully MP to prioritise work to secure a Local Plus Post Office in Sidcup. 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.”
“I will keep constituents informed of any further developments and progress in my campaign to secure a new Post Office on Sidcup High Street.”