Hitchin sorting office ceases operations

POSTAL workers set off on their rounds from Hitchin sorting office for the last time ever at the weekend.

The Portmill Lane site was sold to Whitebarn Developments (Hitchin) Ltd earlier this year, and a public consultation is under way to determine the future of the site. Plans include a mix of retail, leisure, and residential uses.

The sale of the site was down to a decision made by Royal Mail to centralise postal services in Stevenage.

Postal workers, who have now relocated to Stevenage, spent their last day in Hitchin on Saturday.

Steve Butts, local spokesman for the Communications Workers Union (CWU), said: “The last operational week at Hitchin passed by very quickly for my members. It was one full of reflection as their time at Portmill Lane quickly drew to a close.

“Many had worked there for years, and so were sad to leave. However, Monday is a new week and a new beginning with a new place of work to get used to.”

He added: “I’m sure my members will meet this new challenge while continuing to serve the customers in Hitchin and nearby villages.

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“The Portmill Lane site will become known as ‘that’s where the sorting office used to be’.”

One service that will remain in the town despite the closure is postal collections. Letter and parcels can be picked up from T Brookers in Bucklersbury.

Doug Brooker, marketing and operations director at Brookers, said: “When it became clear that Royal Mail was moving out, we realised that there was a need to stop people having to travel to Stevenage if they were out when a delivery was made. Now, they can just come to the post office at the front of our shop to collect it.

“We want to limit the inconvenience to locals and also to retain the retail trade in Hitchin. It will obviously take us some time to get the staffing levels right and we hope that everyone will bear with us while we get it right. This is a brand new venture and, having helped keep a sub post office in the town centre several years ago, we really want to keep the equivalent of them callers’ office here, too.”

Future plans for the sorting office site are being consulted on online at http://sorting-office.whitebarn-developments.co.uk/questionnaire/

There will also be two public exhibitions held on Friday, September 7 and Tuesday, September 18. A planning application is expected to be submitted next year.