Resort post office in call to ‘save our seats’

Controversial benches at Marton Post Office whihc the council wants removing
Controversial benches at Marton Post Office whihc the council wants removing
Have your say

A row has erupted over benches placed outside a Blackpool post office designed to help pensioners and disabled people get their breath back.

The post master at the Post Office at Oxford Square, in Marton, has been ordered to remove the two small picnic benches by the council.

He had placed them there three weeks ago during the hot weather to help visitors to the shops, but within three days was told they had to go.

The council said the benches could be an obstruction to the public on the footpath.

But postmaster Ian Straughan said there was plenty of room and, in any case, there were bollards and lampposts already there on the footpath.

Mr Straughan has now printed 1,000 leaflets calling on residents and customers to protest to Blackpool Mayor Coun Val Haynes in order to keep the benches.

He said: “It was in the hot weather. We had a pensioner collapse outside the shop from heat exhaustion after she had walked up the hill to get here.

“We ran out with a chair for her and it was then I decided to get the benches.

“People have been calling on the council to put benches here for about 17 years. I paid £300 for them and to have them fixed down. Since the council told us to remove them, we have had scores of people supporting us. I have been inundated with emails.

“I just want the council to leave them there or at least put in proper benches of their own for the elderly and vulnerable people who use this area.”

Mr Straughan has received support from community figure Bruce Allen, treasurer of the Mereside Tenants and Residents Association. He said: “It’s just daft. This man has done this to help the pensioners, give them somewhere to rest and have a chat. ”

John Blackledge, Blackpool Council’s director of community and environmental services, said: “The sub-postmaster at Marton Post Office has bolted picnic tables to the pavement illegally and without permission. As a result we have telephoned him and asked that they be removed.

“While we appreciate he is trying to create an amenity for his customers, as a local authority we have a responsibility to ensure people’s safety. The taxpayer may also face 
legal liability issues were someone to be injured.”