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Planning Concerns offer possible hold up to closure of Wotton Sorting Office

Cotswolds MP Geoffrey Clifton-Brown has today criticised Royal Mail for their handling of the closure of the Royal Mail sorting office at Wotton under Edge following their admission to him that they have overlooked a planning issue in relation to the move to the site at Cam.

Mr Clifton-Brown who met with Rob Jenson, Royal Mail's Area General Manager for Thames Valley & Gloucester who was to make the final decision on the closure on the 24 February.

It was at this stage made clear by Mr Jenson that he was convinced that all obstacles had been cleared and no amount of opposition by either a Member of Parliament or local campaigners could halt the move. Given this news the MP pressed for the following assurances which were received:

  • Given the current economic climate it is vital that no jobs are to be lost is pleased to hear that the move will not lead to any forced redundancies.
  • The present level of service provided to customers will not significantly change. Given the location of the Wotton site, at worst the delay will be 15 minutes, though for some the delivery time will actually improve
  • That this is not part of a phased move of all services to a single site in Swindon. The MP was assured that Royal Mail see the site at Cam as vital in maintaining their coverage in the area.
  • That due consideration has been given to those who now have to travel further to pick up mail. Mr Clifton-Brown was informed that the sorting office at Cam will open for an extra hour until 1300.

In addition, the MP was critical of Royal Mail for the lack of communication that had occurred with the local community. In order to assist with this, Mr Clifton-Brown requested a detailed letter from Mr Jenson detailing exactly why the decision was being taken and responding to the concerns of the local population.

However, the letter of clarification received today, available at www.cliftonbrown.co.uk, states that Royal Mail "failed to submit data in 1998 in regards to Clause 7 and Clause 8 of the original planning condition. We are currently taking action to rectify this and submit the data to the council."

As a chartered surveyor by trade Mr Clifton-Brown is keenly aware of the delays planning issues can cause and put in a direct phone call to Mr Jenson who admitted under pressure that he was concerned about this and that it
could cause a delay to the proposed move, although Royal Mail are in discussion with Stroud District Council officers and currently do not anticipate problems.

Following this admission the MP said "I am disappointed in Royal Mails performance in regards to the closure. Opposition to the move has been loud and clear and Royal Mail have failed to communicate adequately"

"Now it emerges that they have not considered the full planning implications of this move. What has already caused great upset and disruption to the local community could now potentially continue as uncertainty persists as to whether this move can actually go ahead. A reconsideration of this would be warmly welcomed by the people of Wotton and the surrounding area"

In order to maintain the momentum of the campaign, and given that Royal Mail plan to complete the move by the end of March Mr Clifton-Brown has requested an urgent meeting with Pat McFadden MP, the Minister with overall
responsibility for Royal Mail and will present a petition against the closure in the House of Commons next Monday.

Source: Cotswolds MP Geoffrey Clifton-Brown

 

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