HC Deb 16 December 1959 vol 615 cc1428-9
19. Mr. Swingler

asked the Postmaster-General if he will review the conditions for establishing sub-post offices in order to ensure that arbitrary standards of population and distance do not frustrate the fulfilment of genuine community need.

Miss Pike

I can assure the hon. Member that we keep the conditions for establishing sub-post offices continually under review. But the amount of money we can spend on new post offices is not unlimited and has to be spread equitably over the country as a whole; for this reason, we have to have rough standards related to the position of existing post offices and to the number of people they serve, but we do look at each case on its merits and try to avoid being arbitrary.

Mr. Swingler

Will the hon. Lady consider that where a new housing estate has been established, with its own shopping centre and its own services in every other respect, the residents of such an estate have a right to a postal service of their own, even though there may be an existing post office just a fraction under a mile away?

Miss Pike

I can assure the hon. Member that we look at the position in new housing estates very closely, and we are very conscious of the need to put post offices in new shopping centres, which are the focal points of estates. We keep the position constantly under review. I can assure him that I shall do my best to see that we get as many sub-post offices as we can afford.

Mr. Popplewell

May I ask the hon. Lady not to be so rigid about the mile limit for these post offices? In these new estates there is a growing density of population and to stick so rigidly to the mile limit causes great hardship, particularly in my constituency.

Miss Pike

I can assure the hon. Member that by no means do we stick rigidly to a mile limit. It is a rough guide which we use in the initial stages when judging where to put post offices, but we are not at all rigid. We try to take every possible consideration into account, and it is only the very difficult cases which come before this House.