Post offices in Walthamstow and Leyton are set to be ‘franchised’ and run by small business owners.
Under proposals announced by Post Office Ltd, the company that runs the nationwide network, the current Walthamstow Central Post Office in Walthamstow High Street would be relocated to the Foster’s Super Market off-licence in Hoe Street and run by shopkeeper Sam Balasingam.
Meanwhile, the existing Lea Bridge Road Post Office would move a short distance down the road to the Pound + Plaza bargain shop, which sells a range of household goods, and be operated by businesswoman Sulekha Sethi.
Public consultations into both moves are ongoing, with comments welcome on the Walthamstow plan for one more week, until Wednesday 16th August, and views on the Leyton proposal welcome for another month, until Wednesday 13th September.
In letters to its customers Post Office Ltd explained: “This move is part of the continuing modernisation of our branch network. We believe the most effective way to secure the long-term viability of post office services [in Walthamstow and Leyton] is through a carefully selected retail partner.
“The vast majority of our 11,600 branches are successfully operated in this way, and we believe this is the best approach to keeping post offices in main shopping locations and at the heart of communities where they play an important role in local economies.”
The plan for the new post office in Walthamstow includes maintaining the same services and extending opening hours to include Sundays, with all staff employed by Foster’s Super Market “trained to the highest standards”.
Post Office Ltd is hosting a consultation event on its plans at Walthamstow Library on Thursday 10th August, from 3.30pm-7pm. The Communication Workers Union (CWU), which opposes the plans, is hosting a rally outside the library on the same day. Dave Ward, CWU’s general secretary, has previously described Post Office Ltd’s ongoing franchising programme as a “slash and burn” approach.
The plan for the new post office in Leyton includes a full refurbishment of Pound + Plaza to make the shop more accessible. Services would be the same as at the current post office, but with opening hours extended to include Sunday afternoons.
To take part in the public consultations quote branch codes 19300299 (for Walthamstow) or 014002 (for Leyton/Lea Bridge Road):