PARK POST OFFICE MAY CLOSE
postmaster who know 95% of his customers by
name reveals possiblity of shutting up shop.
Bedford Park residents have been shocked to
read about the plight of their local sub-postmaster
in an article
in the Guardian newspaper. Ratilal Lad
whose business is on Bedford Corner revealed
that he has been in talks with the Postmasters'
Federation. He was reported as saying, "There
are talks going on .. about compensation. I'm
52, if I get offered reasonable compensation,
I will go and this post office may close."
have been tough for the business with profits
down from £30,000 to £25,000 last
year (still better than Consignia's £1.3bn
loss!) and the future looks very bleak with
automatic credit transfer meaning that benefit
payments will no longer be handled by sub-post
offices from 2003. According to Mr. Lad this
is 40-45% of his business and may mean that
many other post offices will also need to close.
Lad praised the increased automation of the
Post Office but said that the pace of change
was too slow and that the government have been
half-hearted in their involvement.
came to England in 1969 from Uganda, a refugee
from Idi Amin and took over the post office
in 1979 with his wife. He said, "it is
the customers who have made me stay on. They
are both kind and loyal. I know 95% of my regulars
by name. A sub-post office is the most social
place you can get. It's a meeting place for
everyone who uses it, a lot of ideas and information
is exchanged and people who haven't seen their
friends for months and months sometimes bump
into them here."
post office is very much the focus of small
cluster of shops at Bedford Corner where Mr.
Lad's brother also runs the local newsagent.
Bedford Park resident said, "The Lad brothers
and their families are the heart and soul of
this community and I think people underestimate
at their peril the extent of the loss to Bedford
Park if it were to close. I'm sure he will
enjoy playing more cricket but the rest of
us will be the poorer for the loss of a post
office in such friendly and capable hands."
local, Ian Wylie added, "I'd nominate
Mr Lad for any award available for his outstanding
service to Chiswick residents."
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