Petition link here: https://you.38degrees.org.uk/p/save-taunton-post-office
Some of you may have seen that the Post Office has been granted a temporary stay of execution:
I went in to see what was going on and spoke with the staff. It’s in the hands of an interim manager (it seems to be a large corporation that the PO used in 2014 to advise it how to save money!). They are managing it temporarily and looking for another company to take on the franchise.
The staff are basically working in a very cold, derelict looking cavern of a building, all temporary:
One of the experienced staff told me that having a PO in shop premises is not a great money-maker, and that they bring in enough to break even, which seems to me fine for an important public service!
I stayed long enough to talk to a number of customers who were all also disgusted with the state of things, and collected more signatures, and wishes for success with the campaign. Lots of agreement it should be in public hands and secure.
So, our petition continues; we ask the council to give this important public service a secure long-term home. Please sign:
“The new Somerset West and Taunton council must save Taunton’s main post office”. So say Taunton’s Labour candidates, who took to Taunton’s High Street with a petition on Saturday morning.
The “Let’s save Taunton’s Main Post Office” petition aims to use people power on the new council to bid for the franchise to run the post office and provide secure, fit-for-purpose premises, free from the risk of closure.
Labour Councillor Libby Lisgo had raised the issue at a recent Shadow Council meeting. She said “People are appalled that Somerset’s county town is reduced to having no secure main post office. People living and working in Taunton rely on the crucial services the post office offers, especially ones that they can’t, or aren’t happy to access online.”
The decline of the main post office has come over a period of years, during which staff and the public have had to endure worsening conditions. Meanwhile the council is looking to commercial ventures – such as the proposed hotel at Firepool – to make up for massive funding cuts from government.
“If the council commit public money to building a hotel they should be able to provide Taunton with such a key facility as a full-service post office in the town” said Priorswood candidate Brenda Weston.
The petition is available online at https://you.38degrees.org.uk/p/save-taunton-post-office and will be available in paper format on request from Brenda Weston 01823 423275.
We had the great privilege of being joined by the Shadow Environment Secretary, Sue Hayman MP, for our local campaign launch on Saturday morning.
The event began with a members’ meeting where Sue talked through Labour’s environment policy ‘The Green Transformation’, as well as explaining her role as shadow secretary of state, and giving some insights into the Brexit situation from a parliamentary perspective. She then took questions from the floor and discussed issues ranging from Labour’s food policy (which she has direct responsibility for), to the importance of keeping climate change at the top of the agenda, to local issues of housing, transport and air quality and how they require joined-up thinking in relation to environment policy.
“I was really impressed with your manifesto. There are some cracking policies in there and you should all be really proud to go out there and stand on this basis.”Sue Hayman MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
After the meeting and some photos with local candidates, we headed into the town centre to talk to shoppers about their priorities for Taunton. Many were concerned about the deteriorating town centre, lack of adequate infrastructure and transport, and an increase in crime; all issues covered in our manifesto. Some also came to speak to Sue personally about environmental policy, and we had some good conversations and a lot of positive feedback.
You can read our manifesto here:
PS. the event got significant coverage in the County Gazette; you can read it here: https://www.somersetcountygazette.co.uk/news/17491622.sue-hayman-shadow-environment-secretary-visits-taunton-labour-party/