Sorting office work starts – despite fears

Clearing land: Building work off Faraday Way, Bispham, the site of the new Royal Mail delivery office. Below ' Gordon Marsden
Clearing land: Building work off Faraday Way, Bispham, the site of the new Royal Mail delivery office. Below ' Gordon Marsden
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Work is underway to build a new Royal Mail delivery office in Bispham – despite concerns this will lead to the loss of a free parcel collection point in Blackpool town centre.

Diggers have begun to clear land off Faraday Way, where the facility will be relocated from its current base on Abingdon Street.

MP Gordon Marsden at his office in South Shore.

MP Gordon Marsden at his office in South Shore.

But calls were today made for a sub-collection point to be retained in the town centre to avoid a longer journey for people living in the south of the town.

Coun Mark Smith, whose Talbot ward includes Abingdon Street, said: “I can see that for a distribution centre, Faraday Way would give easy access for lorries and trucks.

“But I would like to see a sub-collection point in the town centre for anyone who hasn’t got access to go to Faraday Way.”

Gordon Marsden, MP for Blackpool South, met with Royal Mail bosses in March but says he will discuss his concerns again during his annual Christmas visit to the Abingdon Street delivery office on Saturday.

He said: “There are three separate issues.

“I’m worried about people in South Shore who would have to travel all the way up to Bispham.

“Secondly, it costs £1.50 to arrange to collect a parcel from your local post office.

“And I’m concerned about the future of the building.

“It’s an iconic building. I don’t want there to be a repeat of what happened with the sorting office on Bond Street in South Shore where it was left empty for six years.”

But Royal Mail says it offers extensive re-delivery options, including free re-delivery to the address on a more convenient day or delivery to a neighbour.

The site on Faraday Way is also served by public transport with bus routes 16 and 3 within walking distance.

A spokesman for Royal Mail said: “Work is progressing and we are on target to open in summer 2015.

“The new facility will have dedicated free customer parking spaces, including for disabled customers; parking around the current site is minimal and the majority of spaces are on parking meters.

“We believe the overall service will be enhanced.”

Royal Mail said the future use of the current Abingdon Street building has not yet been decided.

Coun Kath Rowson, Ingthorpe ward councillor in Bispham, said she had been concerned about access to the new site for disabled people.

She said: “I made enquiries and you can arrange re-delivery of parcels. For people with transport, there will be dedicated disabled parking spaces by the door.”