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London mayor seeks judicial review to stop post office closures

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London mayor Ken Livingstone has announced that he will seek a legal challenge to the planned closure of 171 post offices in the capital.

He said: "After writing to the Post Office Ltd with my concerns and receiving an inadequate reply I’m left with no alternative but to go to court.

Councils seek to save threatened branches

Essex CC is negotiating with the Post Office to invest£1.5m to save around half the 32 braches earmarked for closure in the county (LGC, 13 March).

Councils as different as Highland Council and Waltham Forest LBC have launched campaigns against closure announcements.

Peter Cairns (SNP), Highland’s post offices spokesman, aid closures threatened the sustainability of small communities.

“The council made this very clear in our response and it is extremely disappointing that this has been ignored,” he said.

A joint statement by leaders of all three main parties at Waltham Forest urged residents to lobby to save six threaten branches.

London Councils warned that planned closures of 171 branches would have “a devastating impact” on vulnerable people only two years after the capital was disproportionately hit by the previous closure round.

'Willing to work with councils'

A Royal Mail group spokesman said: “We are very willing to work with local authorities and other groups who want to fund, and provide premises and staff for, additional services in their community.”

Mr Livingstone said: "Communities in every part of London, especially the most vulnerable people, depend on their local post office. Post Office Ltd has not provided adequate time to consult on its proposals leaving me with no alternative but to seek leave to challenge their decision through a judicial review.

"Over the last seven years there has been a 45% reduction in the number of post offices open in London while at the same time the number of people living and working in the capital has increased. Now is not the time to be closing post offices but expanding the service.”

Mr Livingstone has been lobbying the government and the Post Office against closures in London since the first closure programme in 2002.

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