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Post Offices (Clifton, Bristol)

Volume 551: debated on Monday 22 October 2012

The Petition of residents of Bristol West constituency,

Declares that the Petitioners support the proposed reopening of the Clifton Mini Market post office.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, to make provision for post offices to be operated on a voluntary basis so that communities such as ours may gain an invaluable service.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented by Stephen Williams, Official Report, 5 September 2012; Vol. 549, c. 353.]


Observations from the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills:

The Government note the views of the residents of Bristol West constituency in their calling for the reopening, on a voluntary basis, of Alma Vale post office, which closed in July 2008 under the Network Change Programme of the previous Government. Under the two closure programmes of the previous Government, 12 post offices closed in the Bristol West constituency.

The Government note that the implementation of the Network Change Programme was an operational matter for Post Office Ltd, and Ministers did not, and do not, play any role in decisions relating to individual post office branches. It is noted that there are currently 13 open post offices in Bristol West constituency, and the nearest branch to the site of the former Alma Vale branch is Cotham Hill post office, approximately 0.4 miles away.

The Government note that strict access criteria are in force which includes a requirement that 95% of the total urban population across the UK is to be within one mile of a post office outlet. The Government further note that Post Office Ltd is exceeding this target, with 99.1% of the urban population nationally living within one mile of a post office.

The Government note that customers from branches which closed under the Network Change Programme will by now have migrated to a number of neighbouring branches, increasing customer sessions and making these branches more sustainable and viable for the future. Post Office Ltd must take into account the potential effect on neighbouring branches when deciding whether to open or reopen a post office branch and will not do so if this would have an unacceptably adverse effect on nearby branches. The Government note that Post Office Ltd considers that reopening a branch at Alma Vale would threaten the viability of neighbouring branches.