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MP raises concerns over new Hawksworth Wood Post Office site

20 August 2015

Leeds West MP Rachel Reeves has called on Post Office bosses to answer three major concerns over the controversial site of a new branch on the Hawksworth Wood estate.

Despite the efforts of a local campaign, the Post Office recently moved its branch from Broadway, where it had been for more than 60 years, to Lea Farm Road. Residents say the new site is too far away and is not on a bus route.

In a message to residents on her website, Ms Reeves says she doubts whether the new location on Lea Farm Road can fulfil the same function the previous site and has identified three major problems. She said:

“The first problem is concerning disabled access.  The disabled ramp is on a slope, the ground up to the ramp is uneven and rough, there is very little space to manoeuvre a wheelchair or frame on the ramp and there is no automatic door.

“The second problem is the privacy and space issue at the Post Office counter. Everyone can hear the interactions which are taking place, usually to do with personal finances. I find this unacceptable.

“The third point concerns the cash point, as it has not been moved from Broadway to the new location and the Broadway one is now closed. This is a major issue for people who cannot get bank accounts, so don’t have a debit card, but have a Post Office Card for drawing down pensions and welfare support.”

Ms Reeves said she’ll pass on any residents’ concerns she receives about the new site to Post Office chiefs and is currently waiting for a response to her concerns.

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As reported in January, the Post Office said it planned to close its Broadway site because the existing postmaster wished to leave.

A spokeswoman today told The Dispatch their aim was to create a branch that welcomed both existing and new customers attracted by the longer opening hours on offer. She added:

“Our agent, supported by Post Office, has worked very hard to ensure that the new branch is easy to access for all our customers, with particular attention paid to the needs of those with mobility issues.

“Similar to the previous branch the new location does not have an automatic door. However the agent and his staff provide assistance, if any is required, to help all customers enter the branch.

“The move to open plan working often results in customers not having to raise their voice to be heard through security glass thus keeping the volume of conversations to a minimum. Typically, a wait line painted on the floor is a practical way of ensuring customers’ privacy at the service point is maintained.

“Finally, the installation of the ATM is subject to planning consent.  The final planning decision was due on the 17 August.

“In preparation, the required phone line is installed, and subject to permission being granted, we will be installing an ATM at the branch.”

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