Ruffley Takes Tesco To Task Over Moreton Hall Post Office Closure

Tuesday, 17 February, 2004

David Ruffley today released the text of a letter to Sir Terry Leahy, Chief Executive of Tesco, which he has sent to more than 100 people who attended his personal public meeting last Friday evening at Sebert Wood Community Primary School.

David said: 'I am asking the boss of Tesco to reconsider this once again. But Tesco seem to be digging their heels in. That's why I am also pressing the regional Post Office managers to work with myself and local councillors to find an alternative site to which we can relocate the post office. Public feeling is running high on Moreton Hall and we are not going to let a post office disappear from the estate. It's as simple as that.'

The text of David's letter to Sir Terry Leahy, Chief Executive of Tesco:

One Stop Shop and Post Office Closure- Moreton Hall, Bury St Edmunds

As you know, Mr David North attended a public meeting I arranged at Bury St Edmunds about the above. Whilst he personally conducted himself in a reasonable way, I am afraid that my constituents were deeply unhappy about the way Tesco have gone about the closure of the Moreton Hall post office.

I set down below the serious concerns that were expressed at the meeting where over 100 people attended:

1. Tesco appear to have done no local market research to find out what the several thousand inhabitants of the Moreton Hall estate want in terms of convenience store provision and post office provision. Many residents pointed out that your large Bury St Edmunds superstore is a very short distance from their estate and what they want at the One Stop shop that you have taken over is a post office, not more food produce that they can get at your superstore anyway.

2. I read out part of the letter from Carol Leslie to me (which sadly she did not date) which contained a major inaccuracy. In the fourth paragraph of her letter she said 'We are working with the Post Office to help them to relocate either into a new local operation, or, if appropriate, to transfer the service to an existing site.' Mr North offered no evidence of any kind at all to support this claim. I would be grateful if you could explain to me exactly what Tesco is doing in this regard.

3. Tesco also communicated to us that they believed there was alternative sub- post office provision near Moreton Hall at Southgate Street and Eastgate Street. This is simply not true: Eastgate Street post office closed last year and Southgate Street post office is 'under consultation' for closure.

4. The suggestion was made that there may be accommodation above the current shop which could be utilised by Tesco either for your 'bake off' facility or a post office facility. Is such upstairs accommodation available for these things?

I should be grateful if you could respond to these points in detail. Mr David North will be able to brief you in some depth as he was taking notes.

I would ask you to reconsider your plan to close the post office. That is what the residents of this very large estate want you to do. They feel so strongly about this that they have indicated to me that they would simply not use your new Express store- indeed they would boycott it- if it does not contain a post office.

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