Ten-mile trip for parcels 'is unacceptable'
A COUNCILLOR has slammed proposed changes to Royal Mail services in the Wincanton and Bruton area.
County councillor Anna Groskop, who lives in Bruton, has written to Royal Mail in disgust over plans which would mean residents could no longer collect missed deliveries from Bruton post office.
Local residents could be forced to make a 10-mile round trip to Wincanton to retrieve undelivered mail or parcels instead.
The new arrangement, which was due to come into effect on Monday, has now been delayed for two months while further consultation is held.
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Mrs Groskop said: "There are so many elderly people living in rural villages and public transport is expensive.
"For some Bruton residents to retrieve their mail they are expected to travel to Wincanton and back.
"This could take them up to three or four hours."
Mrs Groskop has started a petition to raise awareness to the issue, which have been placed in the town's Spar shop, hairdressers and chemist.
She added: "The Royal Mail say that you can request a re-delivery of your parcel, but this isn't good enough for people who work.
"At the moment they can pop down the post office before work but they can't guarantee to be in on the redelivery.
"We want to encourage local residents to stay and shop in Bruton, but if this goes ahead, the Royal Mail will be forcing them out of the town.
"A lot of people seem apathetic but the danger with that is there will be no accountability for the people who make these decisions."
With many local residents braced for the new changes, a Royal Mail spokesperson confirmed this week that a decision on the proposal has been delayed.
Royal Mail spokesperson Val Bodden said: "We can confirm that we are considering our options around the transfer of undelivered items of mail from Bruton post office to our Royal Mail delivery office at Wincanton.
"We are considering these changes in order to streamline our Royal Mail operations, maintain services and to improve the security of mail.
"If this change does go ahead, we would offer all our customers alternative means of receiving undelivered items of mail, including redelivery to the addressee or to another local address specified by the customer.
"The undelivered items would be held for collection at Wincanton Delivery Office, off Carrington Way, between 7am and noon Monday to Friday and between 7am and 11.45am on Saturdays."
She added that Royal Mail is currently seeking regulatory changes to allow undelivered mail to be left with a neighbour. It hopes to extend a recent trial of the scheme.
"This will make it easier for our customers who are not at home during the day to receive items that are too large to go through the letterbox or that require a signature," she said.
Tom Atkins, sub-postmaster at Bruton post office, welcomed the delay.
He said: "I am pleased to hear that a decision has been delayed for two months. It is important that this is properly discussed.
"There has been a massive reaction to this because Bruton has all the facilities we need here."