RBS has confirmed that they’re closing 259 branches, 62 at the Bank of Scotland and 197 at Natwest. Radlett is on the list. The bank is doing a pretty thorough job of informing customers and local people about their plans. There’s a leaflet for each closing branch, with an explanation of why the branch has been chosen for closure and details of alternatives (although, amusingly, the Radlett leaflet suggests the soon-to-be-demolished petrol station as an alternative cash point location!).
Rekha Patel, who runs the invaluable newspaper kiosk on platform 1 at the station, has told me that she’s going to close up for good on 20 February. Her last day in the kiosk will be Friday 19 February.
She’s not retiring: she’ll still be working full-time in her other job and will have much else to keep her busy, so I’m glad she’s decided to close the kiosk – it must have been very hard, taking on the business on her own, after Vinu’s death a year ago, even with the help of Sejal and Beejal and everyone else who’s contributed.
So if you’re passing in the next week or so, do stop by and wish Mrs Patel the best of luck. Radlett’s commuters are going to miss her very much.
UPDATE, 27 June: I dropped into the Post Office on Saturday to grill the always friendly and helpful staff there about the fate of the branch. They were, understandably, reluctant to speak out of turn and stuck to the official line that the branch will not be closed. However, it was suggested that they’d know more about the location of the branch in a month or so. Speculating wildly now: maintaining the Post Office counter business in the current Post Office premises might not be sustainable once the delivery office has been closed, so a ‘back-of-the-shop’ location – in, for instance, Budgen or Chocolate Box – or a full-on shopfront operation in one of the village’s empty shops would make perfect sense. I’ll stress that this is just guesswork on my part right now and the Post Office’s official line is that no ‘relocation’ is planned. Watch this space, as they say in other exciting, fast-moving news outlets.
Staff at the Radlett post office have begun to tell customers that the delivery office at the back will close early next year. Barry Allsuch, local estate agent, tweeted (in a Direct Message to @RadlettWire) this week that he’d been told the closure would also affect the post office branch at the front, an even nastier prospect for Radlett people. The Watford Oberver’s 24 May story is based on this press release:
RELOCATION OF RADLETT DELIVERY OFFICE
Royal Mail announced today (Tuesday 24 May) that Radlett Delivery Office, 122 Watling Street, RADLETT WD7 7AF will be relocated to its Borehamwood office in early 2012.
Faced with declining mail volumes and increasingly tough trading conditions, Royal Mail constantly reviews the operational efficiency and commercial practicality of all its units. As part of our business-wide investment and modernisation programme, Royal Mail is investing in new technology and equipment and upgraded operational facilities to ensure we have world class facilities which provide the most efficient and effective network for delivering the post.
At the same time we need to respond to the huge growth in electronic communications and the resulting decline in overall mail volumes which in the UK means that there are now 16 million fewer letters posted every day compared to five years ago.
The move of the Radlett operation which delivers mail to customers in the WD7 postcode area will provide improved working conditions, secure more cost effective operation.
Detailed planning for the move will take place in the coming weeks and months to ensure a smooth transition for our customers and staff in Radlett. Following the move customers will be able to collect mail from Borehamwood Delivery Office, 23 Shenley Road, BOREHAMWOOD WD6 1AF on the occasions when we have not been able to deliver first time and have left a card. For customers who prefer not to visit the enquiry office in person, Royal Mail offers a free redelivery service which can be accessed online www.royalmail.com or by calling the number on the card we leave. The delivery of mail will continue to meet Royal Mail’s specifications.
Royal Mail’s Thames Valley Delivery Director, Gary Burgess said: “We are telling our people about the move now before the detailed planning starts. We want to be able to work with our people on the change and have the opportunity to discuss the implications individually.”
There will be no compulsory redundancies as a result of this change and Royal Mail will also reimburse its people for any extra mileage incurred as a result of the move.
I contacted the press office looking for an official line. Val Antoine came back with these fairly unequivocal words:
I can confirm there are no plans to relocate Radlett Post Office.
I’ll keep an eye on this and please leave a comment if you know more. It seems to me that a good way to diminish a bustling small town of 9,000 is to take away its Post Office.