There will be a public meeting to discuss the future of the Kennington Park Crown Post Office on Monday 3 June at 19:15 in the Kennington Park Estate Community Centre . Speakers include Kate Hoey MP and a representative of the Post Office. If you care about your local post office you should attend the meeting, find out what’s going on and let your opinions be known.
Impact of post office sell off/closures
If post offices are sold off it is perhaps inevitable that the new owner would wish to reduce costs and focus on those branches/services which produce the most profit. In the event of the Kennington Park Post office being under threat of closure it is worth knowing the consequences if does close.
Post offices, particularly larger ones like the Kennington Park Post Office, generate a lot of ‘footfall’. Local businesses benefit from this footfall as a proportion of people visiting the post office will go into other shops. When the smaller post office near the Oval Station closed, the effect on some local shops was devastating. Once it closed, there was an immediate reduction in footfall with many local shops reporting a reduction in customers. This pushed some shops into the red and the local shopping parade has yet to recover. Another unintended consequence of the closure of this particular office was that residents of a local sheltered housing block reportedly had to start taking cabs to the more distant post office – whilst they could walk a few hundred meters to the shops, a return trip of a mile was more than many could manage.
It is always dangerous to make forecasts but this is one I would bet a lot of money on. If the Kennington Park Post Office were to close I forecast:
(1) An immediate reduction in local footfall in the Kennington Park Road/Kennington Road area;
(2) Certain local businesses reliant on footfall will notice a reduction in the number of their customers; (Note: Not all businesses are equally affected. Some, like pharmacies and estate agents, tend to generate their own foot fall and will be less affected by the closure of the post office. Others will be devastated.);
(3) Some businesses along the Kennington Park Road will almost certainly see a significant reduction in their turnover. Although Kennington Cross shops are a little further away, there too some shops will be adversely affected as potential customers go elsewhere;
(4) There will be an increased turnover of local shops/business (As footfall reduces, the numbers and range of shops that the area will support changes. Businesses already affected by high local parking charges and unhelpful red route timings may well be pushed to the brink and close sooner or later. As each shop closes it accelerates change often to the detriment
(5) Small fledgling businesses, like those relying on mail order, may be discouraged from even starting
(5) As businesses start to close and foot fall reduces, the need for a local bank comes into question. High street bank branches are also under threat and it would be easy to see a scenario where the one remaining local bank – Barclays – also closes.
It may be the case that if you could fast forward 10 years, a new thriving commercial area might emerge. In the short term, following closure of the post office, it seems much more likely that the area will go into decline which could result in increased street crime. If the Post Office is going to close then it would be much better to plan for a replacement business that helps maintain the foot fall. The area does not need another derelict shop.