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Harringay, Haringey - So Good they Spelt it Twice!

From the local grapevine:

just heard the unfortunate news that a franchise has been found for the Crown Post Office in Green Lanes. No details yet about whether this will be in the same premises or elsewhere, 

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NO, NOT OUT YET!

We have campaigned against this for two years and cannot just give up. Several thousand people have signed the petition against closure and we must keep on fighting. This is a valuable service on Green Lanes, especially with Santander and Nationwide gone.

There has to be an official 45 day consultation period including a public meeting where we can put our views. You can also write to comments@postoffice.co.uk. We will be organising other action very soon: please help us to keep going.

I picked up a consultation letter when I was in there this week.
Proposing a move to 37 Grand Parade (is that the Paul Simon office?)

The real question is who is the mystery franchise. The previous franchise attempt was dissuaded by very vocal local opposition. Toxic - that much overused word - springs to mind.

The office above the post office looks huge, Is it all used by the post office or could one floor be converted to a residential flat and leased to keep post office going?

Lisa is right the plan is for the Post Office to lose its Crown status and mover into number 37 Green Lanes which is currently vacant.

The Communication Workers Union understands that the franchisee is Rizwan Salahuddin from Sea Stationers who took over the Finsbury Park Post office this time last year where he pays his new inexperienced staff minimum wage.

The situation gets even worse for Haringey as the Post Office in Wood Green is due to be taken over by WHSmith and will also lose its Crown status and pay minimum wage. 

Protests will be taking place on 1st December up and down the Country as WHSmith, voted the worst shop on the Hight Street, is to take on 74 Crowns. 

This is going to be devastating as we are likely to lose most if not all of the current staff who have a combined service across the 2 offices of around 250 years!

We will be having a press photo opportunity at Wood Green WHSmith at around 10am and 11.15am at the Harringay Office on Green Lanes on 1st December - All are welcome.

This really is the last throw of the dice to keep a Crown in Haringey as these 2 are the last!

Thanks for the update, Steve. So Mr Salahuddin took over the Finsbury Park Post Office last November apparently. His website says it now runs as an arts and crafts shop as well as a post office. Do you know if any independent work been done on how well the post office services are running since the sale?

You're welcome Hugh.

I only have anecdotal evidence which is that at the Post Office at Finsbury Park: queues are longer, the staff knowledge is understandably lacking and the goods he sells are of poor quality. Some of this has come from people who prefer to use the Harringay Crown as the staff: "know what they are doing"! There is a long standing and well respected stationers Fish & Cook in Blackstock Road which is well respected and none too pleased with the competition!

As an aside I asked Elliot Jacob who owns UOE Stationary who took over Crouch End,  Muswell Hill and Stoke Newington why he wasn't interested in the Harringay Office (I wasn't trying to encourage him) - he was unusually uncomfortable and admitted that Green Lanes didn't have right type of customers who would buy his 'posh' wares!

Local residents, businesses, councillors and the trade union (CWU) have been involved in the campaign, we welcome any newcomers to join us on 1st December at WHSmith in Wood Green - press photo shoot at 10am then at the Harringay Crown at 11am.

We are in serious danger of losing the last 2 Crown Post Offices in Haringey - the one currently hosted in WHSmith and the other on Green Lane opposite the Salisbury pub.

There will be a protest on Saturday 1st December - please try and make the press photo shoot in Wood Green at around 10am/10.30am and Green Lanes at 11.30pm.

We hope to see both MPs and many Councillors.

Please come and show your support.

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Hi All

Following excellent demonstrations outside Wood Green & Harringay Crown Post Offices on 1st December with great speeches from David Lammy MP, Catherine West MP, and others there will be a 'Customer Forum' on the franchise of the Harringay Crown on Green Lanes. This takes place on Monday 10th December at Chestnuts Community Centre 280 St Ann's Road London N15 5BN, 13.00 - 17.00 (not great for those who are working!).

Some people have agreed to meet at the Crown Office between 3pm - 3.30pm and walk to the community centre together.

The biggest hit for our community is probably:

  • the loss of experienced staff  
  • the reported poor service currently experienced in Finsbury Park, it is the same franchisee who is taking over on Green Lanes
  • the introduction of inexperienced staff of minimum wage
  • what happens if the new venture goes bust?

If you can't make the 'Forum' you can make your views known at: postofficeviews.co.uk

Thanks to everybody for their continued support over the last 2 years, we intend continuing to the bitter end.

I would never have expected to be saying this, but since the franchise (something like UOE?) refitted the post office in Crouch End, for the first time in over 10 years of living here, I no longer dread a visit to the post office. (I think they operated for quite some time before refitting but it felt the same as under the Royal Mail regime.)

There are 2 bad things: they destroyed the old bank-like frontage and replaced it with obnoxious plate glass - how this was permitted by planning, well I guess planning no longer has any teeth; there is no longer a postbox on the outside of the premises and there is no postbox anywhere nearby in Crouch End.  You have to walk to opposite ends of the 'town centre' to find one when the post office is closed.

However these drawbacks are more than compensated for by: massively increased opening hours, including Sundays - what a difference this made at Xmas; a more open layout at the counter which much improves the interaction with staff; nice staff; when there is a queue it is fast-moving, not like the old days; while there's still the attempt to upsell you a more expensive postal service that you get everywhere these days, nobody is collaring you, trying to sell you something quite different as used to happen quite regularly; nobody is collaring you, trying to get you to use a 'self-service' facility that in fact can only be operated by that same member of staff who is collaring you.

Whether the whole enterprise will last - the large part of the premises given over to stationary etc does not look like it gets a lot of custom - I have no idea but quite frankly this post office works better that the old one.

I have worried that people who are not trained in all the varieties of post office skills may not be able to give customers correct advice and I now feel vindicated in my worry about the closure of Post Offices locally and their replacement by 'privatised amateurs'.

A friend took a standard tube containing printed matter to the private 'post shop' in Crouch End and asked how much it would cost to send it to the USA. She was surprised that the charge was £25 so she took it back home, measured and weighed it and looked at the relevant Royal Post Office website and found that the cost should have been £8 .

She went back to the 'post shop' armed with the Royal Post Office website and the parcel and showed the very nice person in the shop the relevant information and was told that the 'post shop' did not have that information and they were not aware of the measurements or definition of 'small parcel'.

Beware! Be very careful when asking for advice in 'post shops' they are not trained, they do not have the relevant information, and however pleasant they are and however smart the shop is the advice cannot be trusted. I would hate to rely on them for any of the other crucial services that the Post Office is responsible for.

I'm sure they know this stuff - they were going to great effort over the measurements and what was acceptable for a customer in front of me yesterday.  I think the real problem, as I mentioned in my post, is the compulsion to sell a service that is more expensive than the minimum so they are likely to feign ignorance.  I think I might have got done over in a similar manner for an overseas parcel a few weeks ago but at the time my priority was to get it dispatched, regardless of cost, and I swallowed it.  Another time and I likely wouldn't have.

I'm not surprised this happened to your friend but at the same time I am not confident that it would not happen in an unprivatised post office given the way they operate these days.  In fact last year at the sub-post office on Hornsey High St I had a minor run-in with a member of staff who added an insurance cost to a package I was sending without checking with me whether I wanted it.  He was quite unpleasant when I asked for this added cost to be removed, the parcel took a peculiarly long time to reach its destination, and I haven't returned.

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