MP launches bid to save parcel depot

A CAMPAIGN to save a Dartford parcel depot from the axe has been launched to stop the town receiving a "second class service". Last month, postal giant Consignia announced it would be closing Parcelforce Worldwide in Powder Mill Lane by August at the expense of 50 job losses.

But Dartford MP Dr Howard Stoate wants to save it and is urging residents to back him. He branded the closure plans "misguided and short-sighted" and is begging Consignia to reconsider. "The closure of the Dartford depot will not in the long-term save the company money or improve the quality of service for customers," Dr Stoate said.

"Kent Thameside is the fastest growing area of the country. In the next 10 years, there's going to be major growth in the local parcels business. The depot's closure is going to result in Dartford getting a second class service and local people losing their jobs."

A statement issued by Consignia this week hinted that there was no realistic chance of salvaging the depot. Company chairman, Allan Leighton, said: "Consignia is in a perilous position - losing more than £1.5 million every day. Parcelforce Worldwide is losing £15million per month as we have failed to reduce our costs fast enough as the business has declined. We need to renew our operations and the halt the financial losses which put key services at risk."

Nationally, the total number of depots will be slashed from 101 to 51. From July, Parcelforce will concentrate solely on time-guaranteed, next day and two-day express deliveries, ceasing three-day plus delivery products. Dr Stoate is urging residents to write to corporate affairs director, Alan Williams, at Consignia Group Centre, 148 Old Street, London EC1V 9HQ.

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