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Post Offices: Closures

Volume 474: debated on Wednesday 2 April 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform pursuant to his answer of 19 March 2008, Official Report, column 972, that in certain circumstances the Chairman of the Post Office would himself review cases and take closure decisions, what the procedure is by which this process can be engaged in respect of the proposed closure of Laverstock Post Office on 1 April. (197783)

[holding answer 31 March 2008]: The review process for closure decisions after public consultation is instigated by Postwatch where it considers that Post Office Ltd. has not given due consideration to material evidence received during the public consultation or that the proposal for the branch does not meet the Government’s policy requirements.

A four-stage process provides for review on an individual case basis. Where Post Office Ltd. and Postwatch are unable to reach an agreed way forward after the first three stages, a review of the closure decision is then undertaken by the chairman of Royal Mail Group. I understand that in the case of Laverstock, discussions about the closure did not proceed beyond the first stage of the review process as Postwatch were satisfied at that stage that all relevant factors had been duly considered by Post Office Ltd. in reaching their decision.