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Southend Council to target posties in retaliation for office closures?
1:00pm Tuesday 1st January 2013 in Southend
FURIOUS councillors want to ban posties from chaining their trolleys to fences and slap parking tickets on their vans in retaliation for the closure of five delivery offices.
The outlandish proposals have been put forward by members of Southend Council’s Independent group after Royal Mail announced it would shut bases in Rochford, Leigh, Shoebury, Canewdon and Great Wakering.
The move has been met with outrage by residents, who face a lengthy trek to the company’s main depot in Short Street, Southend, when the controversial closures go ahead next year.
But two councillors have now advocated taking retaliatory action by refusing to allow Royal Mail to tie mail trolleys to public fences or lamp posts, and cancelling the blind eye currently shown to vans parked on yellow lines.
In a letter to Rob Tinlin, the council’s chief executive, Independent councillor Mike Assenheim reiterated previous suggestions made by fellow Independent Steve Aylen.
He said: “The administration should stand fast with the public and inform Royal Mail that they are not prepared to cooperate in future in respect of Royal Mail’s activities within the borough.
“This move might go some way to redress what they are doing to the community and help to change their minds about closures.
“It might sound harsh, but I feel it is the only way to stop Royal Mail riding roughshod over the community.”
Royal Mail wants to close the delivery offices, which allow residents pick up parcels which could not be delivered because they were out, to cut costs.
It says all staff will be relocated and residents will still be given a number of options about how they want their packages delivered.
Residents in Great Wakering and Canewdon will still be able to collect their parcels from the villages’ post offices.
However, the company refused to launch a public consultation and infuriated Southend Council chiefs by agreeing to a meeting and then revealing it had already made up its mind about the closures.
Earlier this month, James Duddridge, the Tory MP for Rochford and Southend East, branded the way Royal Mail had handled the situation “appalling”.
A spokesman for Royal Mail refused to comment on Mr Assenheim’s suggestions, but said “modernising” the company was essential.
He added: “These relocations are a commercial business decision.
“Royal Mail does issue information to stakeholders and all customers before any changes to our mail operation take place.
“We met with Southend Council earlier this month to keep them informed of our plans and we have written to other stakeholders in this area. We will be writing to customers and stakeholders four to six weeks prior to any changes happening.”
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