December 7 2013 Latest news:
Saturday, August 24, 2013
A Suffolk MP is petitioning Parliament to order the replacement of a stolen village postbox, after Royal Mail said it had no plans to.
Therese Coffey, Suffolk Coastal MP, said she was disappointed by the postal service’s refusal to install a new box in Blaxhall, near Snape, after the original vanished more than three months ago.
As first reported in The EADT, Royal Mail also turned pleas from resident Margaret Grenham for a temporary box at the junction of Station Road and Church Road, where a pile of bricks was left behind from the suspected theft.
Bosses said the postbox was not well-used, and that an average of only five items of mail were collected in any given week. Due to the low usage of the box, Royal Mail said there were no plans to replace the George VI-style postbox.
Launching the petition at village pub The Ship Inn, with local councillors Ray Herring and Andrew Reid, Dr Coffey said: “Many residents have contacted me on this issue and it is clear that the Royal Mail is still an essential service for Blaxhall residents.
“I want to send a clear message to Royal Mail by presenting the petition to the House of Commons.”
The village still has one remaining postbox but lacks shops, a phone box and a regular daily bus service.
Suffolk MP Therese Coffey said she was disappointed by the announcement and had written to Royal Mail.
In June, Ofcom introduced a requirement for postboxes to be within half a mile of at least 98% of “delivery points” – usually the letter box of an address – and for sufficient means of collection to be provided for the remaining 2%.
But this week, Dr Coffey said she received confirmation from Royal Mail chief executive Moya Greene that the service did not intend to replace the postbox.
“I was very disappointed by Royal Mail’s response as it seems to contradict the new Ofcom rules designed to protect rural post boxes,” she said. “The criteria states there must be a post box within half a mile of at least 98% of delivery points and the closest post box to the location of the stolen one is 0.7 miles away.
“I have also written to the chief executive of Ofcom asking them to intervene.”
Police believe a vehicle may have been driven into the wall surrounding the postbox between lunchtime and 4pm on Monday, May 20.
It was the second to go missing in Suffolk that month, following a similar incident in South Elmham St Michael, near Halesworth, where a box was stolen from the side of the road between 10.30am on Saturday, May 11 and 7am on Monday, May 13.
The petition is available to view and sign at www.theresecoffeymp.com/petitions.