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5 post collection offices - in Leigh, Shoebury, Rochford, Great Wakering and Canewdon to close
ROYAL Mail has announced the closure of five delivery offices which could leave some people with a 15-mile round trip to collect parcels.
Despite previous assurances delivery offices in Leigh , Shoebury , Rochford , Great Wakering and Canewdon would remain open, the company yesterday said they would be moved to Short Street, Southend, next year.
The changes, aimed at saving money, are still being discussed and bosses insist there are no proposals to close Post Office branches. John Hunt, 49, the Essex branch secretary of the Communications’ Workers’ Union, said it would be fighting to keep the same service for residents, as well as protecting members.
He said: “It is always difficult when you are dealing with office closures. A lot of our postmen and women have worked in some of these offices for up to 40 years. “It can be quite unsettling. We don’t know the official effect on our customers yet.”
If the changes go ahead, they will come into effect in Spring 2013. Royal Mail said a decline in the number of letters sent had led to the changes. There would be no compulsory redundancies. All the staff would be moved to Southend and given travel expenses.
Steve Molloy, Royal Mail’s delivery director for the Southend area, said: “We expect to be able to share more information shortly. Such changes are, however, vital to put Royal Mail on a sound, secure and sustainable footing for the future.
“Our service to customers will continue to be a top priority during any changes, if they go ahead. Customers can be reassured we would do all we could to minimise disruption to them and ensure we maintain the high level of service they expect and deserve from Royal Mail.”
When the Echo revealed in March Short Street office, in Southend, was to stop sorting mail, assurances were given there were no plans to close local delivery offices such as Leigh and Shoebury. Short Street stopped sorting mail in March, but it remained a pick-up point and delivery base. Post is now sorted in Chelmsford, before being driven to delivery offices across Southend.
Royal Mail said it made every effort to deliver mail to customers first time. If they were not at home, a card was left and customers could arrange a redelivery free of charge.