Residents of Ludlow have been concerned for a long while about the future of our post office. Following a letter from unitary councillors and Tim Gill, Mayor of Ludlow, the Post Office has clarified it position:
“After the closure of Bromfield any further closures in the Ludlow conurbation is certainly not an option. We have gained a reputation in recent years for a net gain in our Network numbers after decades of decline.”
That is seriously good news.
Ludlow’s mayor and unitary councillors wrote to the post office about the current problems with service at the Tower Street and Gravel Hill post offices. Both are hosted by One Stop.
Our letter to the post office
We write to express our concern over the reduction of hours customer service hours at Ludlow Post Office with the Tower Street One Stop and its satellite operation at the One Stop on Gravel Hill.
The hours this week have been reduced by more than half from 46.5 hours to 21 hours. This is causing considerable inconvenience and confusion for residents of the area many of whom are arriving at times that the post office is closed.
We understand that we live in difficult times and there are currently staff shortages. However, Ludlow post office services have been seen to be understaffed on many occasions before the pandemic. There is widespread concern that, with the Tower Street One Stop slated for redevelopment, Ludlow will lose its post office counter services.
We as councillors are absolutely committed to retaining the fullest range of services in our rural market town.
We are seeking your reassurance counter services have a future in Ludlow, both at One Stop Tower Street and at One Stop Gravel Hill.
We would also welcome a short briefing from you a short briefing on the current difficulties Ludlow post office counter services are facing and the steps being taken to resolve them.
We are willing to help in any way to help preserve post office services in Ludlow
The response from the post office
Dear Cllr Boddington, thank you for your email and the concerns highlighted with regard to Post Office services in Ludlow.
The current pandemic has been a challenge for branches across our network but our partners have worked incredibly hard to keep Post Offices open for the communities who rely on them. Unfortunately there are times when branches have had to close or reduce hours, sometimes at short notice, due to issues caused by Covid-19.
The Ludlow Post Office on Tower Street has been operating on reduced hours for some time but unfortunately One Stop have experienced further sickness issues this week, amongst its team, which has resulted in another reduction in opening hours. Please accept my apologies for the added inconvenience this has caused and the operating hours will be increased as and when staff are able to return to work.
Both Post Office Ltd and One Stop are committed to maintaining Post Office services to the community in Ludlow. The current pandemic has presented many challenges from both a trading and staffing perspective. However, concerns about staffing in Ludlow have been raised with One Stop at a national level and these are being investigated and the necessary remedial actions implemented.
We are also aware of the planning approval that was submitted in September 2016 and approved in April 2017. One Stop have not advised us that they have been given notice of any redevelopment working being scheduled. My understanding is that any works associated with the planning permission would have needed to start within three years of it being approved which has now expired. Should future plans be put forward to redevelop the Tower Hill site we will work with One Stop to find a solution to maintain access to Post Office services in Ludlow.