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100 march against post closures

More than 100 campaigners took to the streets in protest at plans to close Royal Mail sorting offices in Herne Bay and Whitstable. They marched through Herne Bay on Saturday and along the seafront, led by Bay sound engineer David Shepherd, 39, with a loud hailer.

Joining him was Whitstable campaigner and postman Chris Stone. Royal Mail Wants to close depots in Eddington Lane, Herne Bay, and Cromwell Road, Whitstable, as part of a huge shake-up within the next two years. Operations would be concentrated at the Canterbury depot in Military Road. The march was featured by both BBC and ITV. Mr Shepherd, who also took along his young son Oscar, said:

"We are bringing the issue to the attention of more people. We fear Herne Bay and Whitstable residents will be forced to travel to Canterbury to collect undelivered post."

Protesters predict it will take posties longer to complete their rounds. The Royal Mail says the changes are part of a modernisation programme that will cut costs and increase efficiency. Canterbury and Whitstable MP Julian Brazier has written to Royal Mail bosses, warning:

"The mail will have to be carried to and from Canterbury by van, rather than bicycle, which seems a retrogressive step at a time when you are publicly committed to greener options."

Postman Chris Stone said:

"There has already been £400 million spent on new machinery which actually slows down delivery. Millions have been spent on new vans to replace bikes."

Mr Stone said he was slightly disappointed by the turnout in Herne Bay - 200 people joined the Whitstable march - but he feels there is time to build the campaign.

HB Times 30th Jun 2011

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