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Camden New Journal - by DAN CARRIER
Published: 21 February 2008
More than 50 customers of the South End Road post office, including Amanda Platell , voiced their opposition on Wednesday to Royal Mail plans to close the 'crucial service'
More than 50 customers of the South End Road post office, including Amanda Platell , voiced their opposition on Wednesday to Royal Mail plans to close the ‘crucial service’
‘The final straw’ – Royal Mail to close a further four post offices

As the last post sounds for branches across the borough, opposition gains momentum

ROYAL MAIL want to slam down the shutters permanently on four post offices in Camden – but their cost-cutting scheme has been met with a furious response by customers, politicians and celebrities.
The last post was sounded for branches this week in England Lane, Belsize Park, South End Road, South End Green, Crowndale Road, Somers Town and Highgate High Street, Highgate under a radical ­closure programme.
Yesterday (Wednesday), more than 50 customers of the South End Road office including TV wildlife presenter Bill Oddie, author Deborah Moggach, actor Lee Montague and journalist Amanda Platell gathered to voice their opposition.
They say the branch not only provides vital services, but its future is also linked to other shops in the area.
Oscar-nominated ­screenwriter Mrs Moggach said: “We fear it will mark the gradual decline of the other shops here. So many people pop in to the post office and then use the other stores.”
Ms Platell, former editor of the Sunday Express and spin doctor to former Tory leader William Hague, lives nearby. She said: “It means a long walk up to the top of Hampstead, which is not possible for people who are elderly.”
And Mr Oddie echoed their views. He said: “This branch provides a crucial service.”
Hampstead and Highgate MP Glenda Jackson, who battled to keep the post office in South End Green open two years ago, criticised the plans.
Ms Jackson said: “This is the last straw. If it closes, where will the people who use it go? The nearest will be Hampstead or Swiss Cottage, which is some way to travel – and they are already too busy. There have been many complaints about the size of the queues in both branches.”
Now the MP has written to Royal Mail voicing her protest.
Royal Mail say the ­closures are vital as small branches cost £3 million a week to subsidise. They have chosen offices which they say are not making large enough profits and have other branches nearby.
London area manager Anita Turner said: “We believe these proposals offer the best prospect for a sustainable way forward for the Post Office.”
Postmasters are being offered sweeteners of around £70,000 to close – a figure that has led to further criticism.
In the south of the borough, the Crowndale Road office was used as an excuse just two years ago to close another branch in the area. When the Royal College Street office was closed, the Post Office told customers that it was unnecessary to keep open because of the nearby Crowndale Road site. Now people wanting to use the post office will have to travel to the Camden High Street branch – where queues mean waits of up to 45 minutes happen regularly.
Conservative council leader Andrew Marshall said: “We are sceptical about the consultation period and our ability to stop these closures, but we will be objecting strongly to the plans.”

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