Cotswolds MP Geoffrey Clifton-Brown put forward proposals today in Parliament for the re-establishment of postal services in Stratton and The Beeches that he believes could be applied nationally in order to help strengthen the Post Office Network.
The innovative proposals recommended by Mr Clifton-Brown, which came about through meetings with Gary Kirkman the Post Master at Bourton-on-the-Water, John Lafford the former Post Master in Stratton and Cirencester, Councillors Peter Braidwood and John Burgess (Con), and supported by Lee Cox the former Post Master in The Beeches, would see an Outreach Service provided in Stratton and The Beeches. The Outreach in each locality would be open 2.5 days a week, one mornings and the other afternoons, dependent on the demographic of the local population.
The service would be provided by the core Post Office in Bourton-in-the-Water which has the desire and capacity to take on such work and the service would be located in the old site in Stratton and either at its previous location in The Beeches or in the shop premises within the new development.
The MP believes that the Outreach Service would provide a welcome alternative to the overworked and inaccessible Cirencester Post Office without significantly affecting its profitability.
The branches in Stratton and The Beeches were closed down in 2008 by the Labour Government despite a vigorous campaign led by Mr Clifton-Brown and supported by large numbers of constituents.
Speaking in the Parliament today, the MP said, “In a time when localism is high on the agenda and when carbon footprints and green issues are at the forefront of Government Policy, this is a clear opportunity to return services to the locality where they are needed, thus saving unnecessary car journeys and reducing congestion in Cirencester.”
“And whilst the Outreach is not a full time Post Office, you can do everything in an Outreach that you can do in a Crown Post Office – something that sub-branches cannot always offer.”
In response to this the Minister responsible for Postal Services, Edward Davey MP, congratulated the efforts of Mr Clifton-Brown by stating, “He has campaigned for his constituents, particularly for the local post offices in Stratton and the Beeches, and, although they were closed, he is still campaigning and working with local sub-postmasters and councils on putting forward a report to Post Office Ltd. His remarks about the importance of outreach services and their potential were well made.”
Mr Davey also went on to say, “Even before the debate, the hon. Gentleman scored a major victory because he got a review for those post offices and the potential for reopening them.”
The Coalition Government has recently laid out plans for wide-ranging reform of the Royal Mail and the Post Office, which Mr Clifton-Brown fully supports, and the MP is confident that these proposals come at an opportune moment as necessary changes to the Post Office Network are made.
Mr Clifton-Brown, buoyed by the Minister’s words and having communicated with the Managing Director of the Post Office, is due to meet with Mark Wright, Network Change Development Manager at the Post Office, who will now be conducting a review of the proposals put forward as a consequence of the MP’s work.
Source: Geoffrey Clifton-Brown MP Cotswolds