Plans to remove a postbox prompted a lively debate and strong objections from Bishop’s Stortford Town Council’s planning and development committee.
Royal Mail has asked East Herts Council for planning permission to remove the 15-year-old pillar “of no historical significance” to enable side access for the owner of 28 Windhill – the former Royal British Legion club.
The service said: “The postbox itself has very low volumes of letters so it would appear not to be needed, with another postbox approximately 0.3 miles (six-minute walk) away in the high street.”
However, Cllr Alastair Ward-Booth urged the committee to object, saying it was valued by elderly residents and those working from home during the coronavirus crisis.
The committee agreed that it added to the street scene and was a valuable amenity which should be replaced or relocated.
In a letter to the Indie, Stortford resident Joe Connolly, who lives in The Stewarts, off Windhill, said: “I was disappointed but not surprised to learn that Royal Mail is intending to take away my local postbox on Windhill.
“Royal Mail cites the fact that the pillar box is ‘of no historical significance’ and experiences ‘low volumes of letters’. It then concludes that the box is ‘not needed’. No need to ask anyone if it is needed or not then? The logic seems to be that if the box was of an older design but had the same degree of use it could stay.
“I use the box frequently, as do many people in the area. Last Christmas, letters were visible through the postage slot.
“How does Royal Mail measure frequency of use? Does it have a monitor in each box? And what of postboxes in villages like Green Tye? Are the people there to have no postbox at all?
“Royal Mail say that another box is available ‘approximately 0.3 miles away’. What they fail to mention is that, for me, my neighbours and others, a walk to the ‘alternative’ box would mean a return trip of over a mile with a steep hill to climb on the way back. Walking to town has become increasingly difficult for me so I would be faced with the prospect of driving down and finding somewhere to park whilst adding to pollution levels.
“Common sense and common decency would suggest that the box is relocated to a site close by so that the development can go ahead and local residents can still post a letter when they need to.”