By Bob Fousert - 21st February 2020 6:09am
Ed: We received this from our roving reporter Bob Fousert. It would be great if the Parish Council could intervene with the Royal Mail to undo this restriction of trade thoughtlessly implemented.
What do you call a post box where the mail you want to post doesn't fit through the slot? Answer- a box.
Imagine your frustration when the postal service you rely upon for a significant part of your business suddenly changes without warning. This is the situation in which Peter Silvester finds himself because the collection time at the post box at the bottom of Windmill Drive has changed, for the third time, from around 5.00 pm to 09.00 in the morning.
So why is this a problem, you may ask?
Peter, who is the proprietor of the Audlem Mill, runs a successful 'book by post' business that promises customers a first class Royal Mail service where any books purchased will be in the post on the same day as long as they are ordered before 4.00 pm. Of the change to a 09.00 collection Peter, who can post up to 10 books per day, says,
"That can make a big difference to our mail order book business, meaning that books posted to reflect the day's orders cannot be collected until the next day." "One of our USPs (unique selling points) was that books ordered one day were likely to arrive the next.
So much for 1st class post!" a frustrated Peter added.
He then went on to explain that even though it still had the late afternoon (4.45) collection time, he could rarely use the post box in Stafford Street because the slot is not large enough to take a full size 'A4' or "large letter"package, whereas the Windmill Drive slot is. And, he suggested that it puts people in danger by having to walk down a busy single lane 'A' road used by huge tractors and lorries with no pavement in places, whereas there are proper pavements and room to park at Windmill Drive.
When asked why he didn't use the Post Office, Peter said that whilst he was very glad that the village had one, for his purposes it offered a limited service as it was closed on Wednesday afternoons and when the owner went on holidays.
So what does Peter, who has been at The Mill for 13 years, suggest as the answer to what he says is a cost savings exercise by Royal Mail? The simplest solution is to revert to the original time schedule of 5.00 pm which has been done twice before following interventions by the Parish Council. (Royal Mail still have to come into the village every evening to empty the Stafford Street box which is less than 400 meters away).
Another solution could be to swap the timings between the Stafford Street post box and that at the bottom of Windmill Drive as it is the only post box in Audlem with a decent sized slot.
Alternatively, position a new central post box with a decent sized slot by the Post Office or at the entrance to the village car park. "Whatever they do," says Peter, "Royal Mail should put customers before profits, especially when there is so little cost involved."
Tuesday 7th Apr
Monday 6th Apr
Scout and Guide Hall
Audlem Methodist Church