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Keighley’s main post office is haemorrhaging more than £200,000 a year
8:00am Thursday 3rd October 2013 in Keighley
Keighley’s main post office is haemorrhaging more than £200,000 a year.
The shocking statistics were revealed by a Post Office boss during a heated public meeting this week. It is costing just over £2 to generate every pound of income at the Towngate site.
Steve Bruckshaw, a senior stakeholder manager with the company, was defending its controversial decision to seek a retail partner for the beleaguered branch.
It also emerged Asda and department store Beales could be among those seeking to re-home the ailing outlet.
Mr Bruckshaw said: “It’s a very difficult market place and the Post Office needs to change – we have promised the Government that by 2015 we will break even with our Crown branches, and we have identified 70 that are not making money.
“The Keighley branch may seem busy, but the queues are not there all the time and we have to explore other opportunities.
“We are considering the possibility of relocating the Keighley office, but there is no done deal and it will not be taken off the high street.
“We are not closing post offices and we’re not dumbing down the service.
“Any new location would have to meet very high standards, and there would be full consultation so the public can tell us about its concerns.”
But Carl Maden, a national executive member of the Communication Workers Union, said Keighley residents would get a much inferior post office service, and he described the consultation as a “sham”.
He told the audience, at Keighley Disabled People’s Centre the union had been given no criteria for how branches had been selected, and two of those chosen were among the top performers.
“The decision about the franchising of Keighley Post Office has been made – no one will have a say during consultation on that,” he said. “It will be on issues like access to the new premises and whether there’s a bus stop outside.
“The simple fact is when the post office is a counter stuck at the back of a shop ,people will not get the same level of service as they do now, and it is an insult to our dedicated and hard-working staff to suggest otherwise.
“You are going to be queuing amongst people using the shop or store, and no one will want to discuss their personal business in those circumstances.”
Former Selby MP, John Grogan, was also present at the meeting. He said his constituency had faced a similar battle to keep its post office.
“Crown post offices are part of the social fabric of a town,” he said.
“Keighley’s is as much part of the town as the Cougars, Cliffe Castle and the market. It brings people in.
“They are an asset to be exploited in the years ahead, not closed.”
The Post Office is not disclosing potential partners, but Mr Grogan said the public should know.
“WH Smith got a vast block of those branches that went the last time this happened a few years ago,” he said.
“People should be told who the runners and riders are. There are one or two I’d like to put on the table.
“Asda is reportedly interested in taking on a job lot and Beales has been mentioned.”
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