Residents living on the Churchill Gardens Estate will face a 20 minute walk to the nearest post office in Vauxhall Bridge Road if Lupus Street Post Office is closed, a packed meeting of residents heard last night.
The meeting, organised by the Communications Workers Union and addressed by Labour GLA member Murad Qureshi and Post Office representatives, was held in the Churchill Gardens Residents’ Hall, and heard that;
• Residents face a 20 minutes’ walk to the nearest alternative post offices in Vauxhall Bridge Road and Ebury Street with no direct bus links
• The queues at Vauxhall Bridge Road post office are already regularly stretched outside on the pavement
• The Post Office in Vauxhall Bridge Road does not have access for disabled customers with wheelchairs and the Post Office representatives could not say how much it would cost to do the works.
• The Post Office representatives at the meeting say that Lupus Street Post Office loses £100,000 a year; they say that for every £1 of income it costs the post office £1.84 (although statistics provided by the CWU suggest that the figure is £1.33)
• The use of Lupus Street post office for Council-related transactions is the highest in Westminster and if the post office is closed residents will have nowhere where they can pay their rent and rates or renew their parking permit now that the Council has closed all its One Stop shops
• Lupus Street traders use the Post Office banking facilities and if the post office were to close, local businesses would lose this important business facility, as well as having to carry cash some distance to banks elsewhere
• Experience elsewhere shows that when post offices close down surrounding local businesses suffer badly, leading to more empty shops
Labour Party campaigner and Churchill Gardens resident, Murad Gassanly, called on Westminster Council to reduce the Post Office rent in order to keep the post office in Lupus Street, at the heart of the Churchill Gardens and Pimlico community.
Speaking after the meeting, Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg, Leader of the Labour Group, said;
“Churchill Gardens residents are totally unanimous in their opposition to the closure of the Lupus Street post office. The Lupus Street post office has been at the heart of the community for decades and its closure would not only hit residents hard, but would lead to a loss of business for local shops. The Council needs to act swiftly to ensure the post office stays in Lupus Street otherwise the Council could see its rental income from existing shops disappear in the wake of shops closing down”
A petition calling for the Lupus Street post office to remain open has already been signed by over 300 people