Closure of the Southall Broadway Post Office confirmedThu 01 Feb 2024
The Post Office said "We believe there is enough provision of Post Office services to meet the needs of customers in the local area who currently use the Southall branch, without the need for a direct replacement of this branch."
"The existing provision, in addition to our plans to advertise the opportunity to operate one of our Local style branches in the area, will provide Southall branch customers with the access to the Post Office products and services they require."
The Southall community was informed of the Post Office's proposed closure plans in November 2023. The branch closure was described as a commercial decision by the Post Office. Another reason for the proposed closure was that the lease on the property was set to expire.
One of the justifications given for the proposed closure was that there are four alternative post offices in close proximity to the current branch, offering convenient options for customers.
The services most likely to be missed were the Passport Check & Send, Vehicle Tax, Driving licence renewals and International Driving Permits.
Local residents started a petition to stop the closure.
Local residents also campaigned against the closure.
A six-week public consultation took place from 15 November 2023 to 27 December 2023, where local residents were encouraged to express their concerns. One of the reasons for the proposed closure was a commercial decision for Post Office Ltd and they were NOT seeking feedback on this aspect of the proposed change.
The public consultation resulted in 88 responses from customers and local representatives.
The Post Office decision letter, after thanking everyone who took the time to send their comments, stated "All the feedback we received helped us to better understand the views of customers and their representatives and this was taken into account, along with all other relevant factors, in making our decision."
"After careful consideration of the feedback received and all other relevant factors, we have decided to proceed with our plans to permanently close Southall Post Office."
The rationale for the closure is that the Post Office lease on the building that houses Southall branch expires on 24 March 2024 and the branch needs to close on 6 March 2024, to vacate the premises and meet this date.
The planned addition of a new nearby branch aims to address concerns raised by their more vulnerable customers in the area, offering a convenient option for those who may find reaching alternative branches more challenging.
Residents raised concerns about the alternative branches' ability to serve people for whom English is not their first language. The Post Office said that the alternative branches already have a diverse range of languages spoken, including Hindi, Punjabi, Urdu, Bengali, Gujarati, and Persian, to assist customers whose first language is not English or those who do not speak English.
"The only service exclusive to the Southall branch, not available at Western Road, is DVLA Photo card renewal. However, this service is accessible at the Hanwell branch, located 1.8 miles away."
During the consultation one resident commented "Have they seen the queues outside this post office on a daily basis. Its more likely a financial decision than caring what the residents need."
Another resident commented "But in those 3-4 other locations they don't offer passport services, driving license applications and so many other services. They are smaller than the Southall post office. This is stupid closing it down."
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