I have uncovered plans by Royal Mail to close Launceston Post Office and move it to a new base outside the town centre. There is a total lack of public consultation and that the likely new location is all but inaccessible to pedestrians.
Until a year ago, Launceston had two post offices - in the town centre and at Newport. In addition, there were numerous post office services in the villages around the town. Since the last round of closures, the people of Launceston have had to rely on the main town post office and part time or home services in some villages.
I am told that they have been unable to find a permanent postmaster who can make a profit. I understand that they have considered other locations in the town centre but have been unable to find anyone to take the business on.
The current thinking is that the post office will move to the empty Newport Grill building. Royal Mail say that they have secured parking and that the building is accessible to disabled people. However I also understand that another location in the Newport area is also under consideration. It seems amazing that just a year after closing Newport Post Office they are planning to move back to that area.
This is a shocking development just a year after the last round of post office closures which decimated the service in North Cornwall. It has been apparent to all local residents that the current situation was unsatisfactory, but the loss of the town centre post office will hit local people very hard.
A post office in Newport will be very difficult for many Launceston residents to reach. The area is fairly inaccessible to pedestrians and lacks footpaths. I am also concerned that there may well not be enough parking for all customers. Customers using public transport will also find a Newport Post Office difficult to reach.
It will also be another nail in the coffin of town centre shops as even more potential customers are forced to go out of town.
Together with my colleague Sasha Gillard-Loft, I'm calling for a full public consultation by Royal Mail before these plans are allowed to go ahead. We are also planning to use the new Community Area Network Panel to hold an inquiry into the proposal.