Consultation Starts On Changes To Post Office® Network – Post Office Ltd announces plans for Norfolk and West Suffolk

Post Office Ltd today opened a six week local public consultation on its Area Plan for Norfolk and West Suffolk. In line with the criteria and factors set by the Government in its response document, DTI The Post Office Network, Government Response to Public Consultation May 2007 (www.dti.gov.uk/consultations/page36024.html) the Area Plan proposes future provision of Post Office® services through a network of 336 branches across the area, including establishing eight new outreach services, resulting in the closure of 61 existing branches.

Under the proposals 98.1% of the area’s population will either see no change to their nearest branch, or will remain within one mile (by road distance) of an alternative branch.

Post Office Ltd is proposing to establish eight new outreach services in the Norfolk and West Suffolk area, which would use innovative ways to continue to provide Post Office® services – particularly in smaller communities – where the existing branch is proposed for closure.

Possible types of outreach service in the area could include a mobile service visiting small communities at set times, a hosted service operated within third party premises for restricted hours each week, or a partner service within the premises of a local partner (such as a pub landlord).

The detailed Area Plan proposal for Norfolk and West Suffolk is now available.

To obtain a copy visit www.postoffice.co.uk/networkchange or write to Post Office Ltd at Freepost Consultation (no stamp required) or email [email protected] Post Office Ltd is now seeking views on the proposed future service provision in the area including in particular views on access to Post Office® services, the accessibility of alternative branches to those proposed for closure and the appropriate form of outreach service to be provided. Consultation is due to end on June 2 2008.*

The Government has already undertaken a 12 week national consultation before reaching a decision to reduce the UK wide network of Post Office® branches by up to 2500 from its current level of over 14000 while continuing to provide funding to support a more sustainable network in the future. The proposals now published support the national accessibility criteria introduced by the Government.

Post Office Ltd must reduce the number of branches and this is being implemented through a programme of change known as the "Network Change Programme". The purpose of the local public consultation for this area is to obtain views to assist Post Office Limited in selecting the appropriate branches for closure or closure and replacement with an Outreach Service. However, from the outset of the Network Change Programme, Post Office Ltd made it clear in its communications that the Programme was not designed to be a vote about whether branches should close, but was about ensuring that Post Office Ltd had the best available knowledge to allow it to make the most informed decisions about which branches should close at local level.

Laura Tarling, Post Office Ltd’s Network Development Manager for Norfolk and West Suffolk said: "Taking the decision to close any Post Office® branch is always very difficult and we know it will cause concern to many of our customers. We want to ensure that everyone who uses, relies on or has any concern with Post Office® services is both fully aware of the proposed changes, and able to give views on them.

"Post Office Ltd’s aim is to continue to provide essential services and support retail businesses and the local economy in as many communities as possible, subject to the minimum access criteria set by the Government. Rural parts of the community – where 66.7% of the population live – would be served by a total of 276 branches, of which 216 provide the only access to cash in their communities. Urban areas would be served by 60 branches.

"We believe these proposals offer the best prospect for a sustainable way forward for Post Office® services in Norfolk and West Suffolk bearing in mind the minimum access criteria and the other factors to which we have to have regard."

Under the area plan proposals 92.4% of the area’s population will see no change in their nearest branch. A further 5.7% live less than one mile by road distance from the nearest alternative branch, with 2.1% within half a mile.

Post Office Ltd has reached these proposals after engaging with, and taking input from the independent consumer watchdog on postal services, Postwatch, and from local authorities within the area, and has considered factors relating to geography, the availability of local transport and alternative access to key Post Office® services, local demographics and the impact on local economies. Views on all these factors are welcomed during the consultation process.

Ends

Issued by Post Office Ltd
148 Old Street
London
EC1V 9HQ

Notes to Editors

Post Office® branches in the following parliamentary constituencies are included in the Norfolk and West Suffolk Area Plan:

Bury St. Edmunds
Great Yarmouth
Mid Norfolk
Norwich North
Norwich South
North Norfolk
North West Norfolk
South Norfolk
South West Norfolk
West Suffolk

The Government criteria:

Nationally:

• 99% of the UK population to be within 3 miles and 90% of the population to be within 1 mile of their nearest Post Office® branch.

• 99% of the total population in deprived urban areas across the UK to be within 1 mile of their nearest Post Office® branch.

• 95% of the total urban population across the UK to be within 1 mile of their nearest Post Office® branch.

• 95% of the total rural population across the UK to be within 3 miles of their nearest Post Office® branch.

In addition, for each individual postcode district:

• 95% of the population of the postcode district to be within 6 miles of their nearest Post Office® branch.

The following 61Post Office® branches are proposed for closure as part of the Norfolk and West Suffolk:

Banningham, The Crown, Colby Road, Banningham, NR11 7DY
Barney, 73 The Street, Fakenham, NR21 0AD
Barton Mills, 30 The Street, Barton Mills, Bury St Edmunds, IP28 6AA
Beeston, Village Stores – Chapel Lane, Beeston, Kings Lynn, PE32 2NG
Beresford Road, 27 Beresford Road, Great Yarmouth, NR30 4AB
Bressingham, High Road, Bressingham, Diss, IP22 2AT
Castle Rising, The Post Office, Castle Rising, Kings Lynn, PE31 6AF
Caston, Village Hall, The Street, Caston, Attleborough, NR17 1DD
Chalkstone, 3 Strasbourg Square, Haverhill, CB9 0HR
Clint Green, Norwich Road, Clint Green, Dereham, NR19 1AB
Combs Ford, 11-13 Poplar Hill, Combs Ford, Stowmarket, IP14 2AS
Cowlinge, Ivy Cottage, Cowlinge, Newmarket, CB8 9QB
Cringleford, 65 Intwood Road, Cringleford, Norwich, NR4 6AA
Cromer Road, 15A Cromer Road, Sheringham, NR26 8AB
Crown Street, 2 Crown Street, Stowmarket, IP14 1HX
East Runton, East Runton Stores, High Street, East Runton, Cromer, NR27 9AB
East Walton, The Post Office, Kings Lynn, PE32 1PW
East Wretham, Village Hall, Church Road, Wretham, IP24 1RL
Exning Road, 151 Exning Road, Newmarket, CB8 0AY
Fornham All Saints, Hall Farm, The Street, Fornham All Saints, Bury St Edmunds, IP28 6JJ
Gimingham, 4 Harvey Estate, Gimingham, Norwich, NR11 8HA
Great Ashfield, Norton Road, Great Ashfield, Bury St Edmunds, IP31 3HJ
Great Plumstead, Church Road, Gt Plumstead, Norwich, NR13 5AB
Great Walsingham, Textile Centre, Great Walsingham Barns, Hindringham Road, Great Walsingham, NR22 6DR
Griston, Church Road, Griston, Thetford, IP25 6PY
Hickling, The Pleasure Boat Inn, Slaithe Road, Hickling, Norwich, NR12 0YW
Holkham Village, Ancient House, Wells Road, Holkham, Wells Next The Sea, NR23 1AD
Honington Village, The Fox Inn, Troston Road, Honington, Bury St Edmunds, IP31 1RD
Horringer, Horringer Community Centre, Horringer, Bury St Edmunds, IP29 5RU
Lichfield Road, 35 Lichfield Road, Southtown, Great Yarmouth, NR31 0AB
Little Plumstead, Post Office Road, Little Plumstead, Norwich, NR13 5AD
London Street, 98 London Street, Swaffam, PE37 7DX
Longham, Chapel Road, Longham, Dereham, NR19 2AJ
Lynn Road, 47 Lynn Road, Downham Market, PE38 9NP
Marsham, High Street, Marsham, Norwich, NR10 5AE
New Buckenham, Lovells, Market Place, New Buckenham, Norwich, NR16 2AN
North Earlham, 308 Bowthorpe Road, North Earlham, Norwich, NR5 8AB
North End, 7-11 Loke Road, Kings Lynn, PE30 2AY
North Tuddenham, East View, Mill Road, North Tuddenham, Dereham, NR20 3DD
Northgate Street, 17 Northgate Street, Great Yarmouth, NR30 1BA
Norwich Road, Norwich Road, Watton, Thetford, IP25 6JB
Nuns Bridges, Nuns Bridges, Nuns Bridges Filling Station, Bury Road, Thetford, IP24 3ED
Old Newton, 18 Finningham Road, Old Newton, Stowmarket, IP14 4EG
Railway Road, Downham Market Railway Station, Railway Road, Downham Market, PE38 9EN
Ringstead, High Street, Hunstanton, PE36 5JU
Risby, Risby Village Hall, School Road, Risby, Bury St Edmunds, IP28 6RG
Rosary Road, 114 Rosary Road, Norwich, NR1 4DA
Scole, Scole Stores, The Street, Scole, Diss, IP21 4DR
Sporle, Sporle Community Centre, 78 The Street, Sporle, Kings Lynn, PE32 2DR
Springfield Road, 54 Springfield Road, Gorleston, Great Yarmouth, NR31 6AD
Stokesby, Bungalow Stores, Stokesby, Great Yarmouth, NR29 3AL
Tacolneston, 88D Norwich Road, Tacolneston, Norwich, NR16 1BY
Tittleshall, Tittleshall Village Hall, Tittleshall, Kings Lynn, PE32 2PJ
Trowse, 1a The Street, Trowse, Norwich, NR14 8SX
Upton, 1 Church Road, Upton, Norwich, NR13 6AJ
Vauxhall Street, 24 Suffolk Square, Norwich, NR2 2AA
Wattisfield, Community Centre, The Street, Wattisfield, Diss, IP22 1NR
Wells Road, 24-26 Wells Road, Fakenham, NR21 9AA
West Somerton, Staithe Road, West Somerton, Great Yarmouth, NR29 4AB
West Walton, 2 River Road, West Walton, Wisbech, PE14 7EX
Whepstead, Whepstead Community Centre, Brockley Road, Whepstead, Bury St Edmunds, IP29 4SP

The following 8 Post Office® Branches are proposed for replacement by an outreach solution:

Beachamwell, 24-25 The Street, Beachamwell, Swaffham, PE37 8BD
Gislingham, High Street, Gislingham, Eye, IP23 8HS
Nordelph, Fen View, Downham Road, Nordelph, Downham Market, PE38 0BQ
Southery, 12 Westgate Street, Southery, Downham Market, PE38 0PA
Wattisham Airfield, The Naafi Family Shop, Wattisham Airfield, Ipswich, IP7 7RA
Welney, New Road, Welney, Wisbech, PE14 9RA
Wereham, Church Road, Wereham, Kings Lynn, PE33 9AP
Wimbotsham, 14 Westway, Wimbotsham, Kings Lynn, PE34 3PZ

A full list of the 336 (including the 8 outreach) Post Office® branches which would remain open under these proposals is available upon request.

The six-week public consultation period for the Norfolk and West Suffolk begins on 26 March 2008 and all representations should be received by 2 June 2008.

*
The local public consultation usually lasts for a period of six weeks, however Post Office Ltd will be suspending consultation activity, including participating in public meetings, and will not announce any final decisions regarding closures or replacement Outreach services, from 10 April 2008 until 2 May 2008. This coincides with the run up to the local elections taking place in England and Wales and is in line with the usual guidelines regarding such elections.

To express your views write to Laura Tarling, Network Development Manager
C/o National Consultation Team, FREEPOST CONSULTATION TEAM

By email to: [email protected] or call Customer Helpline: 08457 22 33 44

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