NO doubt much of what has been written about the future of rural post offices (December 20) is correct. However, there are other aspects to the financial problems of Royal Mail. The main one seems to be one of very poor management and it is one that seem
NO doubt much of what has been written about the future of rural post offices (December 20) is correct. However, there are other aspects to the financial problems of Royal Mail.
The main one seems to be one of very poor management and it is one that seems to bedevil many of the public services in Britain. You only have to look at the diabolical record of Railtrack and its predecessor, British Rail, for evidence.
The former Post Office in St Ives occupies a prime site in Bridge Street but the front portion has been empty and unused for very many years - apart from short period when Post Offices were pressurised into re-opening it as a stopgap measure.
The rear is used as a sorting office and a place where the public can sometimes collect parcels and registered mail that could not be delivered. You do not need a half-used building for these functions. The sorting office could go to the industrial area and the other function could be performed by our sub-post office. If St Ives was the only town with this situation I might almost be prepared to forgive the management of Royal Mail. However, I believe there are more.
A friend saved his village sub-post office from closure by stepping in and taking over the role of postmaster. He tells me that there are significantly under-used former post office buildings in Didcot and Wantage in Oxfordshire. If it is true, I wonder just how many buildings that Post Offices have which could be let or sold off.
Some of the rural post offices could probably be saved by adding information services to their function.
It would need a computer with internet access, a good printer/scanner and a web cam. That way people could get easy access to council services, tax offices, rail and air timetables and much more. They would also be able to buy holidays, insurance etc on-line and save money. There are quite a few practical problems to be overcome, of course, but nothing. However, I doubt if any of this could be achieved with the existing Royal Mail management.