richard pierce

richard pierce

2 April 2014

Why Stradbroke Library is the perfect home for Stradbroke Post Office

It's more years ago than I care to remember, that we managed to get over 200 people to protest outside Stradbroke Library against the threat of its closure. And it's still open, and now run as part of a not-for-profit organisation. The Tories, naturally, still threaten intellectual individualism, as encouraged by libraries, so the threat is not over, but we're in a better position now than then.

The Court House Trust, a charity, is now seeking to operate the historic Court House in Stradbroke, central to the community, for the community, with an Internet cafe, a radio studio, and the village archive. And it has successfully applied to the Royal Mail (unfortunately recently privatised) to also run a post office. That successful application is now subject to a public consultation which expires on 3rd April.

Today, I sent my comments on the proposed location of the post office in the library to consultation@postoffice.co.uk, for the attention of Julia Marwood, who is the Regional Network Manager. I think what I say is self-explanatory. If you have a view, you still have time to submit your comments as part of the public consultation.

Here's what I said:

Dear Julia,

Stradbroke has now been without a post office for almost two years, and the news that Stradbroke Library is being considered as a host for a post office is great news indeed. The village also lost its shop some six months ago, which was another blow.

As far as I am concerned, the co-location of the post office in the library is the best solution for the village, for a variety of reasons:

-      The library is at the centre of the community;
-      The library is a not-for-profit organisation;
-      Use of the post office in that location will encourage even more increased library use;
-      Use of the library will encourage use of the co-located cafĂ© (with internet access);
-      Co-location cements the role of the library and its building (the historic Court House) as the centre of the community.

I realise there are moves afoot to object to the co-location of the post office in the library and to have it sited instead inside a re-opened shop on the site of the former Spar. This would indeed be a negative move, mainly for the following reasons:

-      Any village shop is operated for profit (quite rightly);
-      Any village shop is operated to profit the individuals or companies running such a shop (quite rightly), and for the profit of any companies and individuals which own the leases on the shop property (this point is more arguable).
-      It follows that any post office co-located with a profit-focused operation will be subject to the vagaries of such an operation, which could include sudden close-down due to adverse economic conditions, onward sale of premises and/or goodwill, onward sale of shop operations and/or goodwill. This would affect the primary aim of a post office, which is to be of public benefit.

In conclusion, therefore, I would like to re-emphasise my support for the location of the post office in Stradbroke Library. Such an outcome is central to the regeneration of the village and can only be for the long-lasting benefit of those who live in the village
 
Yours sincerely,

Richard Pierce-Saunderson

 
Stradbroke needs a library that is run for public benefit and backed by a multi-million pund charitable organisation. It does not need a library situated in a privately-run shop where the rent is too high because convoluted lease agreements are focused on providing profit for a single household in the village.

If you feel strongly about this, please email Julia Marwood at consultation@postoffice.co.uk, and support having the post office in the library. It would make Stradbroke unique in more than one way.

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