Bad news from Richard Helps of the Post Office. This is a letter from him.
The Post Office, St Marys Street, Axbridge BS262BN Somerset UK
16th May 2021

The Post Office is in the town Square and the centre of the community

Axbridge Town CouncilRe: Closure of Axbridge Sorting Office I’m sure you remember that back in August 2018 Royal Mail tried to remove the sorting office from Axbridge Post Office and relocate the Postal staff to Winscombe delivery office. With the help of the Town Council and local MP we were able to get the decision reversed, therefore securing the future of the Post Office in Axbridge.Unfortunately, I understand from the local Postal staff that they intend to try again. Absolutely nothing has changed in the last 3 years in terms of the sorting office providing essential income for the Post Office business. However I believe that under a new contract between Post Office and Royal Mail, Post Office now have no final veto on the plan.

Historically the veto was put in place to avoid exactly this situation, when the income from the sorting office is essential to the viability and future of the Post Office counter.I’ve had no correspondence or verbal notification from Royal Mail regarding their plan, but understand from the local staff that Royal Mail are saying that “service obligations “are not being met. This basically means that not all mail is being delivered every day. As you know many business have faced staffing issues throughout the Pandemic, Axbridge sorting office being no different. It does seem unjust to use such a reason considering what has happened in the last 12 months.

Any move to Winscombe would also result in a dramatic decrease in the level of service regarding the collection of mail from the sorting office. Items needing a signature or large items with no safe place to be left would be taken back to Winscombe delivery office located on the Sanford Road, on the far side of Winscombe. Currently mail can be collected from the Post Office whenever it is open. The proposed plan would reduce this to 2 hours a day between 8 am and 10 am, slightly longer on Saturdays.

A short sighted move with the increase in online shopping.The environmental implications should also be taken into account. All the postal staff will require their own delivery van and that van will need to be driven from Winscombe and back every day. Those twelve journeys will only be a small proportion of the number of people driving from Axbridge, Weare, Allerton, Badgworth, Biddisham, Rooksbridge, Loxton, Compton Bishop and Cross to Winscombe to collect mail, only to find out the sorting office closed for collections.Without any official notification from Royal Mail it’s very hard to decide on the next step, perhaps a ploy by Royal Mail. I do however believe the move is planned within the next 12 weeks.Any assistance you could provide would be greatly appreciated.

Richard Helps, Postmaster

Chamber of Commerce View

This from me Harry Mottram as secretary of the Chamber of Commerce: Please write to your MP , the Town and District Council (Duncan McGinty is the leader of the council and local councillors Graham Godwin and Liz Scott and lobby the PO itself – and spread this bad news to your connections. There is not just the potential loss of jobs but also the viability of the PO itself is at stake with all the implications that has for trade in the town.