Ruffley receives response from Post Office Ltd regarding site for Gislingham mobile outreach service

Tuesday, 21 April, 2009

David Ruffley has received a response from Laura Tarling, Concept Delivery Advisor to Post Office Limited's Network Team, about the siting of the new mobile outreach service in Gislingham. The full text of the correspondence is copied below.

David wrote to Ms Tarling following concern expressed to him about the safety of siting the mobile outreach service in Broadfields Road, which leads to Gislingham Primary School.

The Post Office's justification for siting their service in Broadfields Road is based on the site's use for the mobile library. However, the library operates for only 20 minutes every two weeks, whereas the Post Office outreach will operate for two hours every weekday.

In her response, Ms Tarling points out that Broadfields Road was suggested as an alternative site in a response to the consultation. Gislingham Parish Council, while making reference to Broadfields Road in their response, made it clear that they expected Post Office Ltd to consult further on this option. They stated:

'Other solutions proposed at the [Parish Council] meeting or shortly after included: maintaining the status quo (most preferred); seeking views on using the location presently used by the mobile library for 2 short periods each month (presently at times outside of those proposed for the Outreach Service Point) …'

David Ruffley said: 'I remain extremely concerned about the siting of the Post Office mobile outreach service in Gislingham. One of my Gislingham constituents told me that the mobile library causes 'absolute chaos' when it is in Broadfields Road for 20 minutes every two weeks. So I dread to think what it will be like once the mobile post office is up and running for two hours every weekday.

'The opening hours of the mobile post office will coincide with the youngest children leaving Gislingham Primary School at midday, causing even more congestion in Broadfields Road. This is an accident waiting to happen.

'I am also concerned that access for emergency vehicles to the school and the residential estate may be blocked. I am raising my concerns with the Chief Constable and seeking his views on the safety issues this poses.

'Post Office Ltd are clutching at straws in trying to find a site for their mobile service. They seem to be brushing aside the safety issues involved in the Broadlands Road site. It they really cared about the views of local residents they would consult again. Their refusal to do so speaks for itself.'

Dear Mr Ruffley,

many thanks for your email.

The recent consultation period at Gislingham provided an opportunity for local residents to feedback on the proposed location for the Mobile Outreach service and suggest alternative locations if they think this appropriate. As you know the consultation on the proposed location at West View Rd did raise some concerns from some of the local residents, in addition there were also some suggested alternative locations. The alternative sites suggested were at the Six Bells Public House, the area at the front of the existing Post Office branch and on the site where the Mobile library is situated on Broadfields Road. These suggestions were explored, unfortunately, consent was not provided by the owners of the public house or at the existing Post Office site. A member of our Field Team has also visited the suggested location at Broadfields Rd and found this to be a suitable alternative, especially as this is a site currently used by the local Mobile Library. The decision was then made to site the Mobile Outreach van at this site as suggested by the members of the community.

As Post Office Ltd were responding to the suggestions of the local community, there is not a requirement for us to consult again.

In terms of a licence to trade on the public highway, my colleague is currently seeking advice as to whether this is required for this location and I will update you as soon as possible


Laura Tarling

Concept Delivery Advisor

Network Team

Post Office Ltd

Dear Ms Tarling,

I note the decision Post Office Ltd has taken regarding the siting of the outreach service in Gislingham.

Concern has been expressed to me about the site and times of operation of the outreach service proposed for Broadfields Road. I am told that this proposed siting will cause considerable disruption for two hours every day.

Not only is it a public highway but it is the road leading to Gislingham Primary School. The hours of trading, 11.30-13.30 each weekday, are at a time when there will quite obviously be parents and children using this road during the lunch time periods as well as the normal traffic which will undoubtedly be hazardous in this residential area.

I would be grateful for your response to the following:

1. The consultation you held was for a site in West View

Gardens which was clearly extremely unpopular. Why are you not

consulting on the Broadfields Road site which also poses considerable

problems with regard to an outreach service operating there?

2. What permissions have you sought to trade on the public

highway and with what result?

I look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience.

Kind regards,

David Ruffley MP