Royal Mail has just announced that it's planning to shut the third-closest post office to my house. The Devons Road branch is one of 169 London post offices that face the chop as part of a major national restructuring plan. There are currently 850 post offices in London, and Royal Mail chiefs want to cut that number to 681. It's for our own good, apparently. If they don't butcher the post office network by 20% nigh immediately, then business viability plans may founder. It's our own fault for not buying enough stamps, obviously.
Royal Mail has also announced that it's planning to shut the second-closest post office to my house. The Malmesbury Road branch is an under-frequented shop in a brick parade, battened down behind metal shutters on a grim estate. See how unappealing the brick parade looks in this photo. Postman Pat would never have starred in his own TV series if he'd been based here. And yet for many an elderly resident this place is a regular weekly lifeline. Not everyone has an internet bank account, and not everyone can work out those new-fangled charges for over-sized letters without asking the nice man behind the counter for assistance. Sorry, but closure is apparently essential. Many corporate apologies.
Royal Mail is not proposing to shut the closest post office to my house. The Stroudley Walk branch will remain open, for the purveyance of premium bonds and pet insurance to an enlarged E3 community. So I'll still be able to go and stand in a gloomy concrete cuboid and watch paint peel while queueing for ages to buy stamps from someone who doesn't quite understand English. I'm one of the lucky ones. But my wait will soon be even longer because displaced customers from Devons Road and Malmesbury Road will be queueing up with me. Assuming they can walk this far, that is. And one day, in a couple of consultation periods time, I expect to see even Stroudley Walk on the PO hitlist. Fight back now, while the latest 6-week consultation period lasts, because they could be coming to pull the heart out of your neighbourhood next.