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Royal Mail confirm RG7 post shake-up

Mail for the RG7 postcode area will be merged at Reading Delivery Office under the planned move

ROYAL Mail has confirmed a controversial shake-up of facilities for swathes of West Berkshire and North Hampshire.

After weeks of silence in the face of questioning, Royal Mail has now confirmed that mail for the RG7 postcode area which is currently delivered from three units - Tadley, Hook and Thatcham - will be merged at the Reading Delivery Office.

The RG7 postal area covers a large swathe of West Berkshire and Hampshire including parts of Newbury, Hungerford, Theale, Tadley, Thatcham and outlying villages.

The alarm was initially raised by West Berkshire Council chairman Graham Pask (Con, Bucklebury), who said: “Local delivery workers will have to travel many extra miles. Also, Royal Mail is clamping down on envelopes which are wrongly addressed, and the recipient must pay the charge.

“Currently we can go to Thatcham and see if it's junk mail or if we want to pay the charge. Under the proposed changes, we'll have to travel to Reading. This will mean a further degradation of the postal service and more inconvenience to customers. If it means delivery workers are bringing it from Reading, will they know the area like the local ones?”

Newbury MP Richard Benyon wrote to the Royal Mail on March 31, saying: “For people living in my constituency (including myself) to get to Reading is a costly and time-consuming business. Is it possible for undelivered mail to continue to be returned to the Thatcham depot for ease of collection?”

Royal Mail initially failed to respond to requests for confirmation of the move.

However, spokesman Richard Hall has now revealed: “Customers in the RG26 postcode area (Tadley)....will have their mail delivered from Basingstoke Delivery Office following the move. Mail for the RG7 postcode area which is currently delivered from three units, Tadley, Hook and Thatcham will consolidate to the Reading Delivery Office. The move will provide improved working conditions, secure employment and a 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 the delivery offices affected.

However, claimed Mr Hall: “The planning will also look to secure facilities which will enable customers to continue to collect mail locally on the occasions when we have not been able to deliver first time and have left a card. With the introduction of this service there will not be any detrimental affect on the level of service we offer customers.”

Meanwhile, Basingstoke and Deane bourough councillor Stephen West (Con, Tadley Central) has launched a campaign to persuade Royal Mail to rethink its decision.

He said: “Closing the Tadley Delivery office will mean that residents will have to travel to Basingstoke to collect undelivered mail or waste time and money trying to arrange to collect it from a local post office. This will be particularly inconvenient for vulnerable people such as the elderly or disabled.

“Royal Mail claim that provision will be made for local residents to collect mail from a local Post Office instead. However, Royal Mail have not announced details of these arrangements. The current cost to have an item of mail left at a local Post Office to collect is £1.50 per item. Furthermore, it remains uncertain that any of Talley's sub-Post Offices would be capable of handling a large volume of mail for collection.”

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