The Post Office has said it plans to close its Southall Broadway branch in early 2024 and has now started a consultation period running until 27 December 2023 with local people to voice their concerns.
Dr Onkar Sahota, member of the London Assembly for Ealing & Hillingdon is urging locals to take part and voice their opposition.
EALING.NEWS asked the Post Office why it intends to close the branch. Speaking to EALING.NEWS, a spokesperson said: “In terms of why close the branch, the lease on the property is due to expire, and that’s why we’ve launched the consultation on Post Office provision in the area with the plan to close Southall Directly Managed Branch in the New Year.”
The Post Office claims that there are currently four alternative Post Offices that locals can use with both Lady Margaret Road Post Office “a short distance away” and Mount Pleasant Post Office is “also nearby”. It further added: “King Street Post Office is also close by and Western Road Post Office is slightly further”.
The Post Office says it intends to advertise the opportunity for someone to operate a “Local style” branch to replace the larger Post Office in the area.
Speaking to EALING.NEWS, Dr Onkar Sahota, member of the London Assembly for Ealing & Hillingdon raised his concerns about the closure: “Post Offices are precious community assets especially to vulnerable Londoners. For those without the necessary digital skills or access to the internet, Post Offices give community members somewhere to bank or pay their bills.”
Dr Sahota added: “Southall isn’t a wealthy area. We know that many residents will rely on the Post Office for essential services and will struggle without a local branch. I urge everyone in our community to respond to the consultation opposing this closure.”
With an increase in homes being built in Southall, residents have also questioned the decision by the Post Office. One local voiced their concerns to EALING.NEWS on hearing the plan to close the branch: “Do they know Berkeley Group are planning to more than double the number of new homes to 8,100 at the Gasworks site. Could be anything from 15,000 to 30,000 new residents for whom the Broadway Post Office would be the nearest and most convenient to get to.”
Neil Reynolds, chair of Ealing Green Party voiced his concerns: “The proposed closure is a blow to the centre of Southall and the Post Office should seek to keep services on the high street. The nearest branches are a considerable distance from the centre of the town and will make accessing essential service much harder.”
Southall resident and Clean Air for Southall & Hayes co-ordinator Angela Fonso told EALING.NEWS of her concerns: “The closure of the Post Office offering will affect residents without access to the internet. I was able to apply for my DVLA photo card, a service which wasn’t available at Western Road Post Office, which is nearest to my home.”
Ms Fonso added: “If the Post Office on the Broadway closes down, residents will need to travel to post offices in either Hounslow or Hanwell for this service, which are not within a 20 minute neighbourhood for Southall, which Ealing Council desires.”
Speaking to EALING.NEWS, Councillor Gary Malcolm, leader of Ealing Liberal Democrats said: “Liberal Democrats feel that Post Offices can often be a vital part of the community as many people do not always have access to services via the internet due to a lack of wifi or knowledge, or might need that face to face contact to help them. Often when a Post Office closes it is important to make sure that all of those services can be done in some community location very nearby whether that be a larger type of corner shop or other type of retail establishment.”