Stamp of disapproval

PUBLISHED: 11:07 30 November 2006 | UPDATED: 11:17 06 May 2010

The new post office – minus post box

The new post office - minus post box

PROBLEMS have hit a newly opened post office during its first week of trading. Christmas is a postman s busiest time of year but he will have a lighter load when he collects from the small franchised post office branch in McColl s, in Station Road, Letchw

Kathleen Brinkler – ‘an absolute nightmare’

PROBLEMS have hit a newly opened post office during its first week of trading.

Christmas is a postman's busiest time of year but he will have a lighter load when he collects from the small franchised post office branch in McColl's, in Station Road, Letchworth GC, because it does not have a post box.

And a pensioner who had a stroke two years ago claims she was told she could not have a chair to sit on while she queued, after being unable to get her mobility scooter inside the shop.

Kathleen Brinkler, of Westbury Place, Letchworth GC, said: "I had to go in to get my pension and I had to queue.

Cllr Michael Muir – ‘bad planning’

"It's the first time I have been in there and I don't think I can do it every week. It was terrible.

"I asked [for a chair] and they said they didn't have any.

"In the old post office [on Broadway] they had a chair behind the counter.

"It's an absolute nightmare that I was made to stand all that time."

Mrs Brinkler emerged from the shop and had to be helped onto her scooter by a member of the public.

Planning permission for a post box outside the premises was not requested until the day after the post office had opened for trading.

According to the New Roads and Street Works Act, utility companies are not legally bound to apply for planning permission but a post box is still not expected to grace the pavement until the new year.

The area had to be extensively surveyed as there were some issues with underground cabling.

Letchworth county councillor Michael Muir said: "How ridiculous is it that they open up and there's no post box.

"It's bad planning or an oversight.

"I thought they could put a temporary one inside."

The Comet asked customers what they thought of the new post office.

A Letchworth GC resident, who wished to remain anonymous, said: "I had to walk 300 yards in one direction or walk back to the old post office to post my letter.

"It's a post office where you can't post anything.

"Are they running a post office or just playing at it?"

Jenny Hunt, of The Grange, Letchworth GC, said: "I was speechless. The post box is not going to be here until after Christmas. I just can't believe it.

"You can post the letters at the bottom of Station Road but that means the elderly have to walk even further."

A young mother, who did not want to be named, said: "I don't like it. I have a big pram and I can't get it into the shop. It's not very well organised and I won't be using it at all."

Margaret Pickess, of Bursland, Letchworth GC, said: "It's a bit of a trek to get to. It's alright walking down the hill, it's getting back up that's the problem."

Janetta Anderson, also of Bursland, said: "I like the idea of the post office having a shop."

Allan Everitt, of Linnet Close, Letchworth GC, said: "I think it's a liberty that they go and close the main post office and open a little post office like this.

"I think its ridiculous being so far out of town."

Cllr Muir said: "I seriously believe we should launch an appeal for a bus stop outside because a lot of the elderly are semi-mobile and can't walk long distances."

A spokesman for Post Office Ltd said: "We apologise to our customers in Letchworth GC for any inconvenience.

"We are working hard to re-site a post box outside the new office and an additional box will be sited outside the former crown office, so customers will have increased posting facilities in Letchworth GC.

"In the meantime customers can either post at the counter and there is a post box in close proximity to the new office.

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