Despite a massive protest march, over 1000 petition signatures, a full report which I submitted to Post Office Ltd, and literally hundreds of detailed consultation submissions from local residents, the Government is going ahead with its closure of Wellington Hill West Post Office, Northville Road in Filton, Middleton Road in Lawrence Weston and dozens of post offices across the city. The effect that this will have on local residents cannot be calculated.
During my campaign to save our local post offices I have spoken to so many people for whom their local post office is literally a life-line: The elderly who simply have no way of performing daily tasks without their local post office; the disabled who will not be able to make the difficult journey to their next nearest post office - and one war hero who told me how he had sacrificed everything for his country in the second world war and couldn't understand why the Government was stripping away his local amenities in his old age.
If those in charge of the consultation had actually talked to ordinary people and listened to how they would be effected, perhaps they would have reached a different decision. But as it is, it is hard to believe that the so-called 'consultation process' was little more than a PR exercise, and an excuse to go ahead with the closures regardless. The Government seems to be saying, like Catherine Tate's Lauren, 'Am I bovvered?'. No wonder people have lost faith in politics, and lost faith when the Government says it is going to 'listen'. What is particularly amazing is that our local Labour MP voted in favour of the closures in Parliament.
It is unlikely, however hard we exercise our democratic rights, that we are going to be able to reverse these disastrous decisions to close our post offices. But I for one will be looking more closely at the consultation process, and if there is any way we can challenge the decision on the basis that the consultation was flawed, you can be guaranteed we will do it. If you feel that you have evidence that the consultation process was flawed, please get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone: 0117 9736811I would like to thank, once again, all those residents who campaigned so hard to keep our post offices open. It is testament to a failing regime that nobody seemed to listen. But that doesn't mean we will stop shouting.