Post Office displays East Finchley branch relocation plans

This Is Local London: Councillor Arjun Mittra with Huw Davies, from CWU, and Simon Burman, Post Office senior stakeholder manager, holding 1,500 signatures on the petition opposing the franchising of East Finchley crown post office. Councillor Arjun Mittra with Huw Davies, from CWU, and Simon Burman, Post Office senior stakeholder manager, holding 1,500 signatures on the petition opposing the franchising of East Finchley crown post office.

Plans to franchise East Finchley post office went on display at a public forum - but objectors have yet to be persuaded the move will not affect services.

Customers attended the meeting on Friday evening to find out about the proposalto move East Finchley post office in Viceroy Parade 90m along High Road to Universal Office Equipment in February next year.

The Post Office has said the same services would be available, with the possible exception of an internal cash machine, while opening hours would be five hours longer, running from 9am to 5.30pm from Mondays to Saturdays.

But the plans have been criticised by many people living in the area as well as councillors, and the Communication Workers’ Union (CWU), which represents Post Office counter staff.

More than 1,500 people have also signed a petition against the plans.

Huw Davies, a CWU representative, said: “It’s deeply disappointing that further franchising is being considered when there are so many negative connotations linked with this model. Staff and customers alike will be concerned at this news.

“We have three main concerns about the Post Office’s proposals: inadequacy of facilities and space provided on relocation to new premises, the detrimental impact on the service provided to the public and the lack of guarantee of long-term service provision by the franchisee.

“The CWU is prepared to embrace longer opening hours and further cost reductions, but the Post Office haven’t even discussed these options with us here.”

The Post Office has said the relocated branch would “offer the same high quality” service, but that no final decision would be made until after the consultation ends.

A spokesman said: “The proposed move is part of a major modernisation programme across the Post Office network designed to ensure that Post Office branches are sustainable, profitable and no longer reliant on Government funding.

“Customers should rest assured that the Post Office wants to safeguard long-term service provision, which is not financially feasible in the current circumstances as East Finchley Post Office presently costs £1.60 for every £1 brought into the branch. This is public money and this loss-making position must be reversed.

“The proposed franchisees, Universal Office Equipment, have demonstrated that they will be able to successfully run the branch in East Finchley.”

To have your say on the consultation before January 6, visit postofficeviews.co.uk.

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