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Lack of post box – entrance to Dunwood Park Courts, Milnrow Road, Shaw

royalmail

Councillor Howard Sykes says Royal Mail fail to follow their own rules re the missing post box (nearly 10 months now) at the entrance to Dunwood Park Courts, Milnrow Road, Shaw, Oldham.

Copy of letter I have sent today – my 10th about this matter!

See my first and his response in January:

http://howardsykes.mycouncillor.org.uk/2016/02/15/councillor-demands-missing-royal-mail-post-box-is-replaced/

23 August 2016

Mr Steve Buckley, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, Royal Mail Plc, 100 Victoria Embankment, London EC4Y 0HQ

Dear Mr Buckley,

Re: Disappearance of Royal Mail Post Box, Dunwood Park Courts, Shaw, Oldham.

Thank you for your recent letter of 7 August to which I replied on 15 August.  Whilst I am grateful for your response, we are still no further forward and this is now my ninth communication with you about this matter.

This particular Post Box has been missing since November 2015 and it is a disgrace and a scandal that the residents of Dunwood Park Courts and surrounding area have been without a Post Box for nine whole months.  The majority of these residents are elderly, infirm or disabled and are having to travel to simply post a letter.

I must express my disappointment in the lack of urgency in your response; while you have given vague responses, you have as yet failed to supply a date to reinstate this Post Box.

Other Post Boxes have been replaced, why not this one?

Ofcom’s most recently published statement on regulatory protections for the provision of postboxes states that Royal Mail must ensure that:

  • there is a post box within 0.5 miles by straight line distance of at least 98% of delivery points (i.e. people’s houses) nationally; and
  • for the remaining 2% of delivery points, Royal Mail must provide sufficient access points or other means of access to the universal service (e.g. collection on delivery from very remote or isolated locations such as farmhouses) to meet the reasonable needs of users.

How does the failure to replace or relocate this post box comply with the above?

I have also attached a copy of Royal Mails own protocols for mail box removal and relocation.

I have highlighted a number of sections that appear to have not been followed with this postbox.  They are reproduced in full below.

When a box needs to be taken out of service, either temporarily sealed or permanently removed, a notice will be displayed to tell customers why and give details of the nearest 3 alternative posting facilities.

Not aware the above has been complied with.

Where it is possible to do so, we will provide a four week notification to consumers when we plan to remove or relocate a box. However, sometimes a four week period is not possible because a significant proportion of removals and relocations are due to events outside of our control – such as when a box is damaged or stolen.

Appreciate four weeks is not always possible but this is now nine months!

If we have to remove a posting box

 Before we take a decision to remove a postbox, a number of things are taken into consideration:

  • Whether the original issue can be overcome
  • Feasibility of repairing a box
  • Finding a suitable alternative site
  • The distance to and location of the next nearest 3 alternative boxes
  • That the needs of customer in the area will still be met if the box isn’t replaced
  • The number of delivery points which may now be further than half a mile from a box

Nine months on not aware any of the above has been done?

Therefore, and I take no pleasure in being so blunt and direct but the other eight approaches about this matter have not helped resolve matters for my constituents.

A detailed and considered response to the highlighted sections from your own protocols would be appreciated.

I would also expect a specific and detailed response and a date of if and when this Post Box will be replaced or relocated.

I would urge you to replace this particular one or relocate VERY nearby as the elderly residents are in need of a local Post Box.

I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Yours sincerely – Howard Sykes

Royal Mail protocol for postbox removal and relocation (off their web site)

 https://personal.help.royalmail.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/132/related/1

 We are committed to retaining our ‘six days a week’ collection from all our 115,000 postboxes. In the
UK, we have one of the highest numbers and densities of postboxes in Europe and this hasn’t changed over the past decade.

From time to time, it may become necessary to remove or relocate a postbox. We don’t remove boxes due to under-utilisation. There are, however, various reasons why we might have to take a box out of service:

  • A risk to the safety of our postmen and postwomen
  • The security of the mail in a particular postbox may be compromised
  • Building works mean it’s not possible to access a postbox
  • Re-routing of traffic, making it dangerous for us to collect from a postbox
  • A request to remove a postbox from private land by the landowner
  • Damage to a box due to a road traffic accident

When a box needs to be taken out of service, either temporarily sealed or permanently removed, a notice will be displayed to tell customers why and give details of the nearest 3 alternative posting facilities.

Where it is possible to do so, we will provide a four week notification to consumers when we plan to remove or relocate a box. However, sometimes a four week period is not possible because a significant proportion of removals and relocations are due to events outside of our control – such as when a box is damaged or stolen.

If we have to remove a posting box

 Before we take a decision to remove a postbox, a number of things are taken into consideration:

  • Whether the original issue can be overcome
  • Feasibility of repairing a box
  • Finding a suitable alternative site
  • The distance to and location of the next nearest 3 alternative boxes
  • That the needs of customer in the area will still be met if the box isn’t replaced
  • The number of delivery points which may now be further than half a mile from a box

If a postbox has to be relocated

 Where we have to relocate a postbox we will always:

  • Inform customers of the reason why, via a notice on or near the box
  • Consult appropriate parties, such as local councils, land owners and engineering contractors;
  • Complete relocation/repair work within reasonable timescales, usually six months.

 What to do if you have a problem

  • If you would like to discuss the removal or relocation of a box in your area or you are experiencing a problem, please contact us using the help centre link to the right of this page.
  • To help us answer your query, please remember to note the location of the box and its individual identification number.

My latest letter to Royal Mail re missing post boxes

royalmail15 August 2016

Mr Steve Buckley, Chairman & Chief Executive Office, Royal Mail Plc, 100 Victoria Embankment, London, EC4Y 0HQ

Dear Mr Buckley,

Re: Disappearance of Royal Mail Post Box on Milnrow Road, Long Rushes (High Crompton), Shaw, Oldham.

Thank you for your recent letter of 7 August.  Whilst I am grateful for your response, I still have no further information to share with my constituents.

These Post Boxes have now been missing for almost seven months.  I have received numerous complaints from concerned constituents; the majority of which are elderly, who have to travel to simply post a letter.

I would welcome a dialog and some information about this matter as soon as possible.

I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Yours sincerely – Howard Sykes

Alex Rose Voucher News a disappointment, says Councillor Sykes

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The Leader of the Liberal Democrat Opposition Group on Oldham Council, Councillor Howard Sykes MBE, has expressed his disappointment that the Alexandra Rose Charity (www.alexandrarose.org.uk) has chosen not to partner at this time with Oldham Council on developing a new pilot project to promote healthy eating to low-income mothers in the Borough.

Commenting Councillor Sykes said: “I commend the efforts of Council officers in putting together an excellent bid at short notice, and I thank the Alexandra Rose Charity for considering our bid and for their feedback, most of which was very complimentary.”

The Alexandra Rose charity has run three successful projects in London, where low-income women in recipient of Healthy Start vouchers, which are redeemed for fruit, vegetables and milk, receive additional vouchers from Alexandra Rose.  The charity had invited local authorities in Northern England to apply to partner with them in establishing pilot projects in their municipalities.

Councillor Sykes added: “The Alexandra Rose charity hopes to secure further funding to enable it to invite a second round of bids. I am sure that we will put together an even-better bid second-time around and, as we are clearly a Borough with a demonstrable need for such a project, I remain optimistic that Oldham will eventually partner with the charity.”

The Leader of the Opposition is though still concerned that the take-up of the existing Healthy Start scheme is still low and rather than see the Council sitting on its laurels want it to promote Healthy Start more widely.

He said: “When I wrote to Cabinet Members asking them to apply to join Alex Rose, I also asked them to look at the recommendations published in the ‘Beyond the Food Bank’ report which identified ways in which London Councils could promote the take up of Healthy Start.  Although many low-income families can claim it, only seventy five percent of those eligible do so.

“Healthy Start provides low-income mothers with vouchers to spend on good things that will help them maintain their health.  I would like to see Oldham Council take these recommendations forward locally, and I have written again to the Labour administration asking them to do so.  Like Community Shop, this represents another practical suggestion from the Liberal Democrats to help women in our Borough struggling to make ends meet and faced with food poverty.”

Nicola White – Oldham Olympian Worthy of Civic Recognition

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The Leader of the Opposition and of the Liberal Democrat Group, Councillor Howard Sykes MBE, has expressed his delight that amongst the many worthy winners of Team GB at this year’s Rio Olympics, there is an Oldham Gold Medal winner.

Councillor Sykes wants to ensure that Nicola White, a member of the Team GB women’s hockey team, receives the recognition that is due to her from her home town and Council and has written to the Leader of the Council, Councillor Jean Stretton, asking for a Civic reception to be arranged for her.

Councillor Sykes said: “Team GB’s performance at the Rio Games was spectacular with the highest medal score in history.  I was especially pleased to see Nicola White from Oldham, and her team mates, take the Gold medal for Team GB in hockey.  I congratulate them all for their splendid efforts.  It is always great when people from our Borough do exceptionally well in any field and we have a particularly long and proud history of achievement in many competitive sports.

“I have today written to the Leader asking her to join me in writing to Nicola, and her team mates, with our congratulations on her tremendous achievement, and I have also requested that, in addition to the Manchester welcome home parade, the Council should arrange a very special reception for our own very special Olympian.”

Former Cricketers PH outline planning application

1418318255The officer dealing with the above planning application has informed me of the following.

There is an outline planning application involving the demolition of the existing pub and the erection of a three storey block of 20 apartments on the site.

  • The application was made valid on 28 July 2016.
  • Letters were sent to neighbouring properties on 2 August. In addition, a site notice was posted on 5 August and a press notice on 10 August as the application is for major development. Therefore, the deadline for public comments is 31 August.
  • The 13 week target for determination of the application is 27 October.

A copy of the plans and other supporting documents can be viewed on the Council’s website via the link below (see the ‘documents’ tab):

http://planningpa.oldham.gov.uk/online-applications/simpleSearchResults.do?action=firstPage

Active Citizens’ Fund – cash up for grabs

On Monday 15 August my Active Citizens’ Fund reopens, and I am inviting community groups and organisations across Greater Manchester to apply for their share of £200,000.

Organisations can apply for grants of up to £5,000 for projects that help reduce crime and anti-social behaviour in their local area.

All the information about how to apply can be found here: gmpcc.org.uk/funding

The deadline for applications is 4pm on Thursday 22nd September.

There will also be a series of events across Greater Manchester where people who are interested in applying can come along and find out more information.

Please note, places are limited and must be booked at gmpcc.org.uk/funding:

Oldham Civic Centre, West Street, Oldham, OL1 1UT,

30 August, 2pm to 4pm.

I would be grateful for your support promoting the fund, and please pass this information on through your networks to any groups or organisations you think would be interested.

Best wishes – Tony Lloyd, Mayor and Police and Crime Commissioner