Bid for extra city mail hub to ease woes

Queues at Royal Mail's new Voyager Park delivery centre
Queues at Royal Mail's new Voyager Park delivery centre
Bar staff Matt Shaw and Megan McEnroe at Drift on Hayling Island

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PRESSURE is mounting on Royal Mail bosses to set up another mail delivery hub in Portsmouth over Christmas to stem problems caused by changes to working practices.

Customers have spoken of their frustrations after the company closed two mail collection points in Slindon Street in the city centre and Northern Road in Cosham order to make way for a new centre in Voyager Park.

Frustrated residents say the new centre is too remote from shopping areas and that queues are proving a nightmare.

Now a cross-party plan by Ukip councillor Alicia Denny and Labour group leader Cllr Stephen Morgan has been put forward to see if Royal Mail will set up a temporary mail service in December to help alleviate pressure and minimise disruption.

The councillors will present the proposal at the next full council meeting in Portsmouth on Tuesday – and request that Tory council boss Donna Jones writes to mail managers urging them to adopt the move.

And city Tory traffic boss Cllr Jim Fleming will be asked to write to Stagecoach to request that a number of 21 bus service journeys serving Anchorage Park via Copnor Road be diverted to use Williams Road and Quartremaine Road instead so more people can get to the new Voyager Park mail centre.

Cllr Morgan said: ‘The move of the local delivery office at Slindon Street in the heart of our city to Voyager Park has caused lots of concern in the community. I’ve offered to work with the Royal Mail to address these concerns on behalf of residents, and have practical solutions to resolve the issues.

‘Firstly we need a better bus service to the new office to help people without cars to get there.

‘Royal Mail should also provide a parcel collection facility in the city centre during the festive period to help those getting used to the change of premises during a busy time of year.’

Cllr Denny said: ‘I completely understand the commercial needs of Royal Mail to close the delivery offices in the interests of money-saving and efficiency.

‘However, for something like 150 years, the main Post Office and delivery office have been in the centre of the city and it’s certain going to take some time for people to get used to the change.

The new delivery office is very difficult for people to reach without a car and, although there are alternatives for re-delivery of letters and parcels, this service can be difficult for elderly people and disadvantaged members of the community to access.’

Royal Mail has said the changes to its delivery service in Portsmouth are part of an ‘ongoing transformation and modernisation’ of mail processing and delivery operations across the UK.

It’s also due to changes in the type of mail handled – with more parcels and fewer letters in the network.

A Royal Mail spokeswoman last week admitted there had been ‘a few teething problems as we bed in the changes’.