Campaign for new Upton post office: Margaret Greenwood MP challenges minister to ensure Upton is not left any longer without a post office

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22 Feb 2024

Margaret Greenwood, MP for Wirral West, has written to the Post Office minister calling on the government and the Post Office to work with the local community in Upton to reopen a post office there.

Upton has been without a post office since the autumn of 2019 when the post office in Ford Road closed.

The Post Office has not been able to find anybody willing to reopen it, despite repeated advertising, and the difficulty in recruiting a new sub-postmaster may have been due in part to the Horizon scandal. The only bank branch in Upton, Barclays, closed in 2018. 

Margaret Greenwood MP said:

“Post offices provide a vital public service, whether to renew road tax, take out cash, or post and collect parcels: shops and local organisations can be badly affected when people have to travel to find one, often facing long queues when they do.

“In a place where there are few or no applicants to take over a post office, the government and the post office should work with local communities like Upton to find a solution.

“Post offices should be at the heart of a community and easy for people in the local area to access; the post office should take into account the needs of people who are less mobile in particular.

“Upton is a vibrant community, but has now been without a post office since 2019. It’s time the government and the Post Office acted to put that right.”

The Upton Village Community Group had previously written to the then Chief Executive of the Post Office as far back as 2020 calling on him to reopen the former post office in Ford Road or a new one elsewhere in the village.

Surveys of the public found that the proportion of people in the UK saying that they visit a post office at least once a week remained at a similar level between 2015 and 2022 at just under a fifth of those who responded. That suggests that there is a significant group who rely on the services that post offices provide.

There has been a long-term decline in the number of local post offices. The number of post offices of all types fell by around 48% between 1980 and 2015.

The number of sub-post offices of the kind involved in the Horizon affair where the sub-postmaster/mistress or a partner such as W H Smith owns and manages the branch fell by just over half (51%) over the same period.

Since 2015 the number of post offices has remained broadly stable up to now, although there has been a 3% fall in the North West.

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Please find below the letter sent by Margaret Greenwood MP to the minister with responsibility for the post office, Kevin Hollinrake MP

Dear Kevin,

I write regarding the continued lack of a post office in Upton in my constituency.

Upton has been without a post office since the autumn of 2019 when the post office in Ford Road closed.

The Post Office has not been able to find anybody willing to reopen it, despite repeated advertising, and the difficulty in recruiting a new sub-postmaster may have been due in part to the Horizon scandal.

Upton is a vibrant community with restaurants, cafés, takeaways, pubs, health and beauty establishments, and both specialist shops and convenience shops, as well as a community centre, and sports and fitness centres.

However, the only bank branch closed in 2018 and the post office shut its doors the following year. The closure of vital local services of this kind inevitably has an impact on the public, in particular senior citizens, as well as local shops which are operating in a difficult economic climate.

I understand that the chair of the Upton Village Community Group previously wrote to the then Chief Executive of the Post Office as far back as in 2020 calling on him to reopen the former post office in Ford Road or a new one elsewhere in the village.

I note that this general issue has also been raised with you in the House of Commons recently.

I urge you to work constructively with the Chief Executive of the Post Office and the local community in Upton to find a solution to the gap in provision there, either by reopening a post office or, if that is not possible, an outreach service.

Upton has now been without a post office for over four years. I urge the government and the Post Office to act to put that right as soon as possible.

I look forward to your response.

Yours sincerely,
Margaret Greenwood MP

 

Promoted by and on behalf of Margaret Greenwood MP, 20 Rushworth Street, London SE1 0SS


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