Tim Loughton MP (East Worthing and Shoreham) used one of the last House of Commons debates before the dissolution of Parliament to discuss the closures of the Crown post offices in Lancing and Shoreham. The debate coincided with today’s announcement from the Post Office that the preferred partner to take over from the Lancing Crown office is Garrett’s convenience store on North Road, only a few metres along from the existing site.
In the very well attended debate, Tim raised concerns about the closure of the Lancing and Shoreham post offices with the Minister and how this would impact on the community, particularly older people, as well as how the government can secure the long-term future and sustainability of the Post Office.
Following the debate, Tim said:
“The very high turnout at this debate now that we are in the election period underlines the great concern many MPs have across all parties about the future of the Post Office. I used this opportunity to quiz the minster about what the long-term game plan is for the Post Office given that everything seems to focus on retrenching their business and reducing the number of directly owned Crown offices.
“The transfer of the Lancing and Shoreham Crown offices are both cases in point where the Post Office seems to be missing an opportunity to expand its services and offer to the public at a time when conventional banks are deserting the high street and the Post Office is a long established and trust brand which could be innovating more to secure its long-term growth.
“Whilst there are some advantages to the proposals for the new home of the Lancing post office in terms of longer opening hours and disability access I am still very concerned that the premises is not nearly big enough which can only lead to longer queues, longer waiting times and a diminished service. Given that this is a relatively new independent store, it is unclear what will happen if the promises they have made to secure the contact turn out to be unsustainable and they are unable to continue with the contract.
“I am also very concerned about the prospect of existing staff given that in other recent Post Office transfers only 10 out of 400 direct Post Office employees have transferred to the new business.
Because of the election the public consultation period for the Lancing proposals will be extended to June 27 and I would urge all constituents to make their views known and I will certainly continue to be vociferous in raising my concerns as I will be when we have further details about the future of the Shoreham Crown office.”