Battle to keep Sidmouth posties on bike

PUBLISHED: 11:30 22 May 2010 | UPDATED: 14:00 18 June 2010

A SIDMOUTH county councillor has called a meeting with Royal Mail bosses over plans to axe some of its fleet of delivery bikes.

A SIDMOUTH county councillor has called a meeting with Royal Mail bosses over plans to axe some of its fleet of delivery bikes.

As reported in the Herald, posties in the Sidmouth and Ottery area were told in March that bicycles would be phased out and replaced by vans and trolleys.

Councillor Stuart Hughes was approached by several concerned posties following the announcement.

He received the backing of Devon County Council's cabinet at a meeting last month, in which it sent a letter to Royal Mail requesting it to reconsider the country-wide plans.

But Mr Hughes said he was left feeling deflated following Royal Mail's response which stated: "Whilst we recognise that bicycles are a sustainable and safe mode of travel for many people, we see their usefulness out on delivery as increasingly limited.

"Indeed, to meet the changing needs of our customers and the evolving mail market we need to adopt a different delivery approach for the future."

DCC is now looking for reassurances that Royal Mail could review its policy in Devon and has asked to hold a meeting with the company.

It will also continue to seek clarification that any shift in delivery methods will not lead to the closure of local sorting offices and that delivery operations will not be run from centralised offices such as Exeter.

Mr Hughes said "I'm disappointed with the response that we have had so far from Royal Mail as it really failed to answer our concerns.

"I think a meeting would be useful to clear up this issue of the use of delivery bicycles.

"It would be a crying shame to think that we might not see our local posties on their bikes anymore.

"I appreciate that the Royal Mail is investing in transforming its collection and delivery, but as carbon reduction is part of that investment, the use of bicycles would seem to fit in perfectly with its future operations to reduce emissions.

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