Saving the Crown (Post Office)

DSCF3516©Geoff Wilkinson

Residents have until 11 March to take part in the consultation over the closure of South Woodford’s Crown Post Office. Communication Workers Union rep Clive Tickner urges you to do so. Photo by Geoff Wilkinson

Firstly, let me introduce myself. My name is Clive Tickner and I am the Communication Workers Union (CWU) sector rep for South Woodford Post Office on George Lane, which on 27 January was announced for closure. I have represented the office for many years and have worked for the Post Office for over 35 years.

A bit of background behind this closure. In 2017, South Woodford Post Office announced it was going to be franchised; however, the buyer pulled out. Then, in 2018, the terms of the lease were changed and the landlord gave the Post Office notice to be out by early May of this year.

South Woodford is a Crown Post Office that transacts the full range of services and is publicly owned. The next nearest Crown Post Office would be Houndsditch, which is 10 miles away, with the nearest sub Post Office two miles away. The staff currently working in there have nearly 200 years of experience between them.

Crown Post Offices – those that are directly managed by Post Office Ltd – are a cherished institution, loved by all who use them. If the closure was to go ahead, it would have a devastating effect on George Lane’s businesses and the communities that the office currently serves.

The petition launched on the day the closure was announced has already received over 2,600 signatures at the time of writing, and responses are growing daily. The campaign has cross-party support, with Sir Iain Duncan Smith MP particularly vociferous in his support of keeping the site open. It is also my intention to set up a public meeting at a date to be advised, and I would expect Post Office management to attend such an important meeting and to be answerable to the community of South Woodford.

My biggest fear is that the local community will be left without a Post Office. It is our belief that the decision to close is based on pure financial dogma as we also believe the lease could easily be extended or an alternative premises found to house a Crown Post Office.

A consultation started on 27 January and runs until 11 March. This is why we moved quickly to set up a campaign committee to stop this destruction of a national treasure, something that is a vitally important part of our social fabric. We need as much support as possible to halt this process.

When this pandemic finally abates, the Post Office will be an integral part of the economy bouncing back, both nationally and locally, as well as retaining its position as an essential community hub to the people of South Woodford. These are some of the many reasons why we need to save South Woodford’s Crown Post Office. Please help to support this vital campaign.

To contact Clive, call 07876 344 456 or email cstickner99@yahoo.co.uk

To sign the petition, visit swvg.co.uk/po

To take part in the consultation, visit swvg.co.uk/poconsultation