Continued concern at later post

09:00 10 August 2014

Archant

Budleigh residents say they are still receiving consistently late post, several months after changes that Royal Mail said would improve the service were introduced.

The Journal reported in March how the replacement of posties’ bicycles with vans and trolleys had led to deliveries previously made in the morning sometimes arriving well into the afternoon.

At the time Royal Mail said there were ‘teething problems’, however, five months on the situation is apparently no better for residents, with one report of post arriving at nearly 7pm, although it seems the situation for traders has improved.

And Royal Mail bosses may not be under much pressure to change things, as afternoon deliveries are in line with its targets.

A spokesman said: “Royal Mail’s aim is to deliver the mail by 3pm in urban areas and 4pm in rural areas.”

They added that Budleigh Salterton has both rural and urban rounds. Among those annoyed at the late post is Sarah Robinson, of the Old Clink in Fore Street.

She said: “In general the post has been in the afternoon between 2pm and 3pm. [On one occasion] it must have been about quarter to seven.”

Mrs Robinson, formerly manager at Age Concern Budleigh Salterton, added: “Since the bikes have gone the deliveries have got slower. It’s absolutely appalling. It’s hopeless, especially for the elderly.

“If the elderly can’t rely on it then it leads to missed hospital appointments.”

Town mayor Councillor Caz Sismore-Hunt said: “The bikes going was the worst thing they ever did. The system worked. They are giving us a worse service and saying it’s progress.”

Although deliveries to homes may still be later, Barry Bentley, of Lesley’s and the Chamber of Commerce executive, says that the situation for traders has improved.

He said: “As far as we’re concerned it has improved. For our shop and High Street it is much better, virtually back to where it was before.”

Budleigh in Business board member Mike Clarke said he understood recent late deliveries were due to staff shortages, and said traders believed the situation would only be temporary.

The Royal Mail spokesman added: “We apologise for any inconvenience caused to our customers as a result of late delivery of mail.

“As a result of the revision which was introduced recently, some customers will receive their mail earlier because they are at the beginning of a round, and others later because they are at the end of a round.

“Due to the changing nature of the mail we deliver, with fewer letters and more parcels, we have phased out use of bicycles in favour of trolleys and vans.”

Royal Mail says concerned customers can contact Royal Mail customer services on 03457 740740 or visit www.royalmail.com.

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