In a joint statement today (March 23rd 2015) Labour MP for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland Tom Blenkinsop and Mrs Sue Edgar the Sub Postmistress and owner of Guisborough Post Office hit out at comments by Conservative Candidate Will Goodhand which suggested that Tom had been engaged in ‘scare mongering’ over the recent closure of the Post Office for refurbishment, and which claimed the work was being underwritten “by government financial grants”.
Responding to the comments Mrs Edgar said:
“These comments from Mr Goodhand are nonsense and personally insulting to me. I personally invested a substantial amount of money into revamping the Post Office and I am extremely amazed to see Will Goodhand claiming that the revamp is simply all down to a Government Investment Scheme.
“I want to put on record my special thanks to Tom and his team who have worked with me since the day I took over the running of the Westgate Post Office. They have been a great support for me both when I was struggling to get the business up and running and latterly, over issues around the organisation for the revamp and postal services while the Post Office was shut.”
“I find Mr Goodhand’s comments disturbing. It seems that he made no attempt to find out the facts before hitting the keyboard and making those comments. If he had done so, he would have found that I and my team were simply trying to get proper alternative arrangements in place on the part of Post Office Ltd during the closure period. Frankly, he should have been calling for this himself, instead of trying to suggest the work was wholly funded by the government he supports – something shown to be inaccurate by the Sub Postmistress herself. I feel that, at the very least, Mrs Edgar is owed an apology from Mr Goodhand.”
Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland Labour MP, Tom Blenkinsop, today (10th March 2015) called on national Post Office bosses to ‘rethink’ their proposals to provide counter services during a fortnight shutdown for the Post Office in Coulby Newham.
“From the 4th April the Coulby Newham Post Office on Lingfield Ash will have to shut down for a fortnight for a complete refurbishment and modernisation – this, of course, is welcome. However, what is not welcome is that the post office have, in my view, extremely limited plans to provide an alternative service.
“In short, they are saying that people can simply just use the branches at Hemlington and Marton or, indeed Middlesbrough town centre. For people with no car, this cuts out a reasonably local chance of accessing post office counter services. This is important given the large size of the Coulby Newham Post Office catchment area. The nearest branches at Hemlington and Marton are small and this could mean a lot of queuing for a lot of customers.
“I have suggested that there are alternatives that could be considered. We know that the Post Office have, for example, mobile coaches converted to counter post offices which they could park up near to the branch or on a car park near the Coulby Newham Parkway Centre. I feel this is the only commensurate response they should make.
“I look to the Post Office reviewing their arrangements to provide such a local service at a busy time of year.”
Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland Labour MP, Tom Blenkinsop, today (9th January 2015) expressed his concerns over a possible decision by Post Office Ltd to move the location of the Post Office in the East Cleveland Village of Brotton.
Post Office Ltd we are proposing, with the Postmaster’s agreement, to move the above Post Office branch to a new location – Parkway Store, 2-4 Foster Street, Brotton, Saltburn-by-the-Sea, TS12 2TR.
“The idea, it seems, is to move from the current standalone Post Office on the village high street to a new shared location with a general store in the Brotton Park Area. Despite the Post Office’s warm words, I have concerns.
“The location, if they are correct, is well away from the existing High Street PO and the other shops and is not on a road where there are buses stopping within yards in both directions. Additionally it is a considerable 10-15 minute walk for people from the “top end” of Brotton or from the streets running off the High Street. The new location does not offer any of these access advantages. The Post Office in a coy comment say that any walk will be via what they call “a varied terrain” which in plain English means a step gradient – something of concern for pensioners or the less able bodied.
“I think we will have to oppose this and we are now making contact with the Post Office to get more details. In the meantime I would ask local residents who also may have concerns to contact the Post Office consultation team or drop letters in to the existing post office for forwarding to the Post Office consultation team”
The Post Office consultation team can be found at https://www.postofficeviews.co.uk/liveconsultation.php