Post Office lifeline

A GLIMMER of hope has appeared in The Comet s campaign to stop widely condemned plans to move Letchworth GC s post office. The shop the post office is set to move to, McColl s, could be demolished as part of Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foun-dation s p

A GLIMMER of hope has appeared in The Comet's campaign to stop widely condemned plans to move Letchworth GC's post office.

The shop the post office is set to move to, McColl's, could be demolished as part of Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foun-dation's plans to redevelop the town centre.

The Foundation has this week announced it is "looking to embrace" 71, 73 and 75 Station Road in compulsory purchase orders to help regenerate the town.

It said the buildings could be needed to give access to the area.

The Foundation's director general Stuart Kenny has written to the Post Office to inform it of these plans.

He said: "I have indicated that, in all the circumstances, it would appear perverse for the Post Office to relocate at the present time from Broadway to 73 Station Road."

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Mr Kenny said he has also reminded the Post Office that there are covenants on two of the three plots of the post office site in Broadway, and pledged that these covenants will be "aggressively enforced" by the Foundation.

Mr Kenny added: "As ever, the Foundation would be happy to discuss these matters further with the Royal Mail Group, reinstating what we regarded as a positive dialogue over recent years, and seeking to find a solution which is right for both the garden city and the Post Office."

A spokesman for the Post Office said that it only found out about the Foundation's plans on Tuesday.

The spokesman added: "It's too early to say. We will be looking into the issue. We're in discussions with our franchise partner."

Also this week, a post office worker added his voice to the campaign to save the Broadway branch.

Les Smith, 52, who has worked at the post office in Letchworth GC for four years, said the plans were "ill thought through" and that public support for keeping the central branch was "unanimous".

But Mr Smith said staff at the branch have been told the move is a done deal.

He said: "We've been told categorically that nothing's going to save this post office.

"I hope the public and the press prove them wrong because I think it's about time the person on the street won one of the fights."

He said staff have been told they will be redeployed to other areas of the Post Office business.

And he warned that counter staff in the franchise branch will not be as highly skilled as current post office employees, who undergo extensive training.

"Basically they'll be shop assistants. If they're brought in off the street they won't have a clue," he said.

The Comet tried to contact TM Retail, owners of McColl's, to discuss the staffing issues, but our calls were not returned.

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