Post Office Closure Programme
At the Town Council’s Planning Committee meeting on 5 February, members unanimously agreed to support the campaign to keep the Balcombe Road Post Office open.
After months of speculation, and much to the dismay of local residents, it has been announced that the Balcombe Road Post Office has been earmarked for closure, subject to a six week public consultation, as part of the Government’s policy to close 2,500 Post Offices across the country.
Peter Ainsworth, our local Member of Parliament has stated, “The Government has opened Royal Mail up to much greater competition, whilst denying them the freedom they need to compete effectively, by limiting the products and services they provide”.
From statistics provided there are approximately 14,200 post office branches across the country. The Government has already closed around 4,000 branches since 1997, and plans to close a further 2,500 over the next two years. There are currently only 19 post offices in total in the East Surrey constituency.
The Balcombe Road Post Office is open every weekday until 5.30 pm and also on Saturdays until 1230 pm. It deals with up to 500 “customer sessions” per week. The Town Council believes that it is important for this local post office to remain open. The Post Office’s own customer age profile states that as many as 16% of nearby residents are retired and it should not be forgotten that many users of this branch are elderly and infirm. The Post Office in Martins Newsagents, Consort Way, is nominated as the main alternative site. It is already a busy branch, dealing with nearly 3,000 weekly sessions, and often has long queues. It would be almost impossible for many Horley residents to travel to this town centre branch without some means of transport. Retaining the Balcombe Road branch would allow a community service to be kept within reasonable reach of the proposed new housing developments and would also assist those living nearby who experience transport difficulties.
As a result of Horley Master Plan proposals, a large residential development is currently being built on the eastern outskirts of Horley, which will house both young and old alike. The Balcombe Road Post Office would, without doubt, will be of great value to these new residents. The Town Council strongly believes it would be illogical to close a Post Office at this critical phase of Horley’s development.
The public consultation is from 29 January until 10 March. Any member of the public can sign a petition at the Balcombe Road Post Office or on-line by clicking here
Peter Ainsworth, MP has organised a Public Meeting to be held on Saturday 1 March at Oakwood School starting at 1230 pm. Everyone is welcome to attend.