Local residents protest at loss of Post Box
Stinchcombe residents sorely miss the Oldhill Lane post box. People now need to get into their cars or face a longish walk along a busy road. Before, they had a convenient box.
Missing since February
The post box was first spotted with its pole bent almost to the ground in February. The Chair of the Parish Council, Marian Shaw, made her own arrangements for a speedy repair to the pole because of the problems getting another Stinchcombe post box replaced a couple of years ago. Unfortunately The Royal Mail removed the box before this could happen.
With the box still missing 3 months later, local resident Mandy Delafield contacted Royal Mail’s Customer Services. She was assured that it would be returned. A promise then repeated when she checked on progress in June and again in July. Mrs Delafield was then horrified to learn in late August that Royal Mail no longer intended to replace the box.
Parish Councillors, District Councillors and MP Siobhan Baillie all added their voices in support of residents to no avail. District Councillor Catherine Braun took the matter to a Postal Review Panel, insisting on an explanation. She was told that the box “gets knocked over a lot by we suspect farming machinery, and by vehicles trying to turn”. Long standing residents have no recollection of this ever happening and no hard evidence has been provided to support the claim.
Villagers have good reason to be sceptical – in the recent previous post box dispute The Royal Mail talked to The Gazette about the wrong post box entirely, one that was not even in Gloucestershire!. Bizarrely, The Royal Mail gave our MP an entirely different reason for not replacing the box, citing “the balance of economy against service provision”.
To make matters worse, a Royal Mail Customer Services Advisor suggested the Postal Redress Service to resolve the deadlocked complaint. It quickly emerged that the matter is outside their remit. This shows The Royal Mail’s willingness to turn its back on solutions previously agreed with customers, undermining its own complaints procedure. The Parish Council has had to contend with a system that is both confusing and confused. The contrast with the highly regarded postmen and women on the ground could not be more pronounced.
Stinchcombe is in no mood to give up and is considering how to continue its fight.
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