Daniel Zeichner, MP for Cambridge, told Parliament that the Government should “be aware of who you are taking on“ in their efforts to close Cambridge Crown Post Office on St Andrew‘s Street in a debate in Parliament this afternoon.
Mr Zeichner told Parliament that “We are furious about the proposed closure, moving services into a WHSmith store. Absolutely furious. Cambridge’s Crown post office has around 150 years of service over its 15 staff. It is consistently one of the top performing Post Office in the Area, and consequently regionally and nationally too in income and performance.“
The MP echoed concerns throughout the debate about WHSmith, including that the shop has been voted worst high street retailer by Which? customers in 2018, and it has been in the bottom two in the survey for the last eight consecutive years.
Mr Zeichner also championed the importance of disabled access, citing Cllr Gerri Bird as a formidable campaigner:
“Cambridge WHSmith is not listed as wheelchair accessible on the WHSmith website. Those who use wheelchairs or have access requirements are more reliant on postal services as they are statistically likely to have more engagement with government services which require this. However, even if it is found to be technically possible to manoeuvre round the Cambridge shop in a wheelchair: this is not just about whether it is possible, it’s about public service, and real access. We must aim to make using postal services an accessible experience, not one where people are wedged in between over-filled shelves, stuck between queues, feeling stressed or vulnerable.“
He concluded by referencing BBC TV series Lark Rise to Candleford and the place of the Post Office in English culture, asking the Minister “What kind of Conservative doesn’t understand the place of the post office in an English country town or community?“
Post Office Minister Kelly Tolhurst responded to the debate, telling MPs “I do recognise the passion, and the importance of post offices to MPs“.
Mr Zeichner comments: “The fight for our post office is only just beginning. It’s not a question simply of costs, its one of service and priorities. A high street post office is part of the essential fabric of a place, while our high streets are under threat from austerity and technological change. We will continue to protect our much-loved and well-used Post Office, and to make sure everyone in Cambridge can access the services they need.“