THE Post Office's proposals to close eight branches in the borough and 169 across London has prompted fierce opposition from local people and elected representatives, including myself and other local MPs, the Mayor of London and local councillors.

Two branches are earmarked for closure in my constituency - Park Parade, 6 Park Parade, Gunnersbury Avenue, W3 and Norwood Green, 175 Norwood Road, Southall UB2.

No one is suggesting that there should be no closures at all, as the Post Office seeks to modernise and get on to a sustainable footing, but the Post Office needs to think very carefully about the impacts of certain closures and also about the adequacy of its consultation process.

Ken Livingstone has highlighted the fact that, contrary to government best practice guidelines, this consultation is only open for six weeks and includes the Easter holiday period, instead of the recommended 12 weeks. He is threatening to take the Post Office to judicial review and is quite rightly arguing for a more thorough consultation.

This is in part because the Post Office does not always know what it is doing. My parliamentary colleague in Ealing, Acton and Shepherds Bush, Andrew Slaughter, found that the Post Office recently directed his constituents from one closed post office to another branch that had already been closed down a few months earlier.

The impacts of some of the proposed closures will be significant, especially on the elderly. Both closures in my constituency will mean a walk of nearly a mile for local people to alternative branches. In Norwood Green it will also require two bus journeys for people to access these alternative branches.

Post office branches are vital in supporting the community socially and economically and hard questions should be asked before any are closed.

You can respond to the consultation online at:, by email at:, in writing to: Anita Turner, Network Development Manager, Post Office Ltd, C/O National Consultation Team, FREEPOST CONSULTATION TEAM, or by calling 08457 223344 by April 2.