Brockley Sorting Office "to be sold"

The Brockley Cross Action Group have discussed at their AGM what we speculated about last month. They say:

The Post Office Sorting Office is to close - the London Borough of Lewisham lost a year-long court case against Post Office, which wants to clear up site for sale. This is in the centre of Brockley so we will need to watch what happens to this site very closely.

As we wrote in September, it seems likely that the redevelopment of this location will involve a mixture of flats and ground-floor commercial space. But the size of the site means that it would have the potential to offer more than space for small shops - restaurants or even a gym - could be accommodated here.

100 comments:

Anonymous said...

Any idea of the timeframe? Exciting news for Brockley if this is done properly

Anonymous said...

Any links to more info? Not that I don't trust every comment I read on the interwebs, but how can BXAG be sure that it's going to be sold?

Anonymous said...

Great news. Hope they finally see fit to put the KFC the high street has so badly needed in here.

Three cheers!

Anonymous said...

Great location near 2 zone 2 stations - Brockley and Nunhead ... hopefully something high-density here ...

Fattyfattybumbum said...

This site is crucial to the fate of Brockley.

I really hope someone with imagine and some style buys it and does something awesome.

Sally said...

So where will we collect parcels now? Given that there's no way I'm going to give permission for stuff to be left with a neighbour.

Anonymous said...

Why wouldn't you give permission for stuff to be left with a neighbour?

Anonymous said...

you forgot to mention Nandos........

Anonymous said...

If they knock down a few surrounding houses they should be able to squeeze in an odeon cinema. would be a good place to start the 'lewisham needs an odeon' campaign.

Pete said...

I can envisage something not especially inspiring being built on that site unfortunately. Boxy block of flats with some retail underneath anyone?

Sally said...

The chances of any of the neighbours that I know being in during the day when something's being delivered are minimal. It's not a trust thing, just a matter of convenience.

kolp said...

here comes another Tescos...

Anonymous said...

Something was delivered to me the other day when I wasn't home and they just shoved it under my hedges. It was raining so the package was drenched when I got home - I'd rather have got it from the sorting office ... They need to address this issue if they intend to sell the sorting office.

Ben H said...

Maybe a Mr Burns style casino complete with giant golden statue of Brockley Nick or the yang to his ying Lou Baker.

"Say hello to your new god, Mr Burns!"

Ben H said...

But seriously this is great news, the site is too "prime" for a sorting office, despite how useful it is.

Anonymous said...

a pure gym like the one in greenwich would be a dream come true for me! or a nando's.

Anonymous said...

Gym + Waitrose :-)

Fattyfattybumbum said...

Ideally, a parade of independent gems but in reality probably an ugly tower of boxy flats and yet another Nisa Local.

Anonymous said...

nd hopefully a Starbucks or Nero!!

Anonymous said...

Tescos - it is a perfect site for them - they have an aim to put a telcos within walking distance of everyone, there isn't one within walking distance of, say, Brockley Station - so there's the perfect opportunity - and what developer would turn away a blue chip client?

tescos here we come!

Anonymous said...

How about they replace it with retail, restaurants/bars and a useful place to go and pick up some parcels like a Post Office...

Tressilliana said...

So where will our post come from? Is there spare capacity in another local sorting office?

kolp said...

For Tescos if they can get this spot plus the one mooted in Crofton Park it's a nice straight link for the delivery truck, and the further node on Lewisham Way.

Lep Recorn said...

I assume that the space is within the conservation area and so any development would have to be in some sense (e.g. height) in keeping?

Anonymous said...

I'm sure the nimbys will see to that.

Fattyfattybumbum said...

@ Lep - conservation conserschmation!

As long as the developer is providing heaps of tiny flats to shorten its housing list, Lewishambles Council will approve anything, anywhere.

thomas said...

Am very curious to how collecting parcels will work now. We got the leaflet about leaving packages with neighbours from now on a few months ago but every time I've missed one I've had to go the sorting office still.

Really hope this doesn't mean you have to go to the New Cross one though because that will then mean I only get a chance every Saturday morning. Is there any closer?

Robert said...

Mmm. Are we sure about this? I think that BXAG may have just been speculating on this blog's speculation in their minutes. I could be wrong, but I am pretty sure there is nothing in it.

A rumour about a rumour.

Anonymous said...

I thought BXAG were planning to march down Brick Lane?

Anonymous said...

There are now two sites which could transform Brockley for years to come. This and the MOT centre redevelopment.

Who will win in Brockley's struggle against mediocrity?

Any other visions besides boxy flats, supermarkets and fast food?

BreakspearsEagle said...

Are you sure that BXAG are not just regurgitating speculation from Brockley Central - rumour becomes fact via chinese whispers.

Anonymous said...

Why don't they just allow more conversions of the massive houses around Telegraph Hill... less boxy.

kolp said...

A court case has been lost by LBC since the initial speculative thread. However it does some searching to verify the case in question.

Anonymous said...

I believe some members of the Conservation Zone want to turn it into a Snorting Office

Robert said...

kolp - do you have a link to this case?

Alex said...

As someone who attended the meeting where this quote from BXAG appears to have come from I don't recall it being anything other than speculation.

kolp said...

No I don't have a link to the case, my post was highlighting that there appeared to be movement on the story (the case) but that it is still be verified.(unable to find the case).

Anonymous said...

A gym would be fantastic. If not there then Haberdashers should show a bit of commercial acumen and redevelop/open their facilities to the paying public on the Nunhead side of the tracks...

Anonymous said...

That site was originally a church that was bombed during WW2. I wonder if the Post Office own the Freehold or just a lease?

Anonymous said...

Interesting idea - would be great for the community to have another place of worship in the vicinity.

Anonymous said...

Typical misinformation from Brockley Society.

Tressilliana said...

The source appears to be the Brockley Cross Action Group, actually.

Anonymous said...

And how about the loss of jobs for all the people employed at the sorting office. Stop thinking about yourself!

Tressilliana said...

If this happens, how many jobs would be lost? The volume of post that has to be sorted and delivered isn't going to change.

Anonymous said...

My postman told me that they would all be kicked out of their jobs as they do not have another office to move to.

I'm all for improvements, but not for a loss in the jobs market.

Tressilliana said...

So what are they going to do with our post? It has to be sorted somewhere and it still needs to be delivered. The pillar boxes will still have to be emptied.

Anonymous said...

Pizza East Brockley??

Welcome to 2012 said...

Oh the irony! Anon complaining about "misinformation" blames it on the wrong group. You couldn't make it up!

david said...

Sorting office, please - the trek to Forest Hill to collect my parcels on a Saturday is such a drag. Oh and maybe an honest and reliable garage to look after my car. No, wait... Arse...

Anonymous said...

Looks like Royal Mail is readying itself for privatization. The Government has picked up the bill for the pensions (which made it unsellable.) Next will be a big sell off and rationalization of property assets. Seems to have started happening already in central London.

I guess this will be quite a big national story as the plans are finalized in a year or so.

I don't think this will be a case of writing to you MP and tweaking the ear of your local councillor.

We haven't had a privatization in a long while.

Mondee said...

If it is still not confirmed, BXAG have written a very misleading statement there. It is very much written as fact.

AliAliAfro said...

French owned BNP Real Estate are dealing with all UK Post Office Sales.

Nothing showing on their website but these deals are often done off market - particularly when they are of a sensitive nature.

AliAliAfro said...

Further Update.

Looks like BNP RE only got instructed earlier this month so may just be that they are putting together sales pack... Intresting article on whats happening nationally, who is involved and when things are due to happen:

http://www.costar.co.uk/en/assets/news/2012/October/Post-Office-rubberstamps-BNP-PRE-for-mega-mandate/

Robert said...

Thanks AAF.

This quote from that link implies that there is no strategy relating to PO closures - instead there is a program of refurbishment - though this seems to relate to shop branches rather than sorting offices.

I still think that there is nothing in these rumours, though we will wait and see.

"The Post Office announced in March that more than 6,000 branches of the Post Office are to be revamped by the government over the next three years as part of a £1.43bn investment programme aimed at modernising the sub-branches, which will then be styled as either main or local branches.

The remaining 5,500 sub-branches will stay as they are. Of the new modernised branches, 4,000 will be designated as main branches, and 2,000 as local.

A pilot programme for the conversions, covering 227 converted sub-branches, is already underway. The conversion programme will not affect the 373 big city-centre branches known as Crown branches.

Despite the number of Post Office customers falling by nearly a third in the past ten years, the government has repeated its pledge that there would be no further closures of Post Office branches."

AliAliAfro said...

"This quote from that link implies that there is no strategy relating to PO closures"

Not sure I read that the same way as you - it doesn't tell you what the strategy is but it doesn't imply that there isn't a strategy.

And you missed the the key paragraph which reads: "The agent will advise across all aspects of property management, including acquisitions and disposals and lease advisory, as well as helping the Post Office to deliver on its modernisation plans"

"Disposals" means selling, sub-letting, assigning or otherwise getting rid of property that is surplus to requirements. the refurb plan is in addition to this.

Anonymous said...

I once did a job with the Royal Mail many years ago during a previous restructuring.

Mail sorting was being concentrated at the time in huge mail sorting centers with a massive investment in automated machinery. These were usually on the outskirts of big towns.

I guess the sorting and distribution of mail is again going through a modernisation programme and that will involve the closure of some sorting offices.

Looks like someone tried to get a list under freedom of information:

http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/sorting_delivery_offices

But they only got published information.

Looking at the Royal Mail press releases, there is a big rationalization in progress with respect to sorting offices. Where it happened in other parts of the UK, the function of local sorting offices has moved to the big centralized offices with bigger better sorting machines. The posties now operate out of a van and wheel trolleys around. Hence the 'leave a parcel with a neighbor' trial to get around the removal of a local collection point.

http://www.myroyalmail.com/news/national-south-east/2012/09/modernisation-progress

At the sharp end, the posties are unimpressed:

http://roymayall.hubpages.com/hub/Modernisation

With this modernization and rationalization and a similarly large change to the post office retail side, I am sure there is a lot of internal debate amongst the workforce.

What the upshot of this will be for Brockley is probably contained in some confidential file at Royal Mail and they won't make any announcement until all the arrangements are in place. They seem to have had a long time to plan all this.

They seem to be operating the 'park and loop' - vans and trolleys system already, which must mean there is less sorting going on in the local sorting office in Brockley.

I do hope they preserve a parcel collection facility instead of this leave with the neighbor stuff.

It would be nice if all the parcel delivery companies could share some local collection facility.

It would be nice if delivery companies texted or called before delivery when they know when they are likely to arrive.

These modernisation efforts seem to ignore to customer point of view of the service we would like to have.

Harrying time we live in.

AAA said...

Just to clarify though - this in no way confirms the Brockley sale is on the cards. Just that if it was, BNP RE would be the consultant advising Royal Mail.

Anonymous said...

A betting shop sounds good. Any one second that!

Anonymous said...

Another decent bookies would be good. Very much missing Portland here.

Anonymous said...

Just a quick question for the regulars here. Would a supermarket be such a bad thing? Brockley has a few local shops where you can buy some nice cheese/bread/meats etc, but nowhere to buy everything? Do you think a Sainsburys/Tesco would really ruin the high street?

Not trying to be controversial or difficult, just an honest question.

P&J said...

The other day the post man left my amazon package in the recycling bin! What if it had been bin day?! I was not impressed.

I hope the new space will be something all of brockley can benefit from, not a petrol station or crappy apartments! Something that will fit in with the surrounding buildings.

When is ACE van hire going?

Tamsin said...

I had an amazon parcel left out in the damp yesterday - behind the bin but I might not have spotted it if I had not been looking for something else. Luckily although the outer cardboard was soaked the books had been packed in bubblewrap as well.

Actually, a total boob on my part. I saw the "Recording Britain" pictures in the V&A on a recent visit and, having found a reasonably priced set of the books on amazon bought them without realiseing that a set inherited from my parents were already on our shelves (at least I have a consistent taste with my mother). So would anyone like them - no dust jackets but very reasonable condition - for £25?

Anonymous said...

How about a barbers on the site?
And there will be free parking to.

Anonymous said...

Why would lewisham council be fighting to keep the delivery office there it should be the local people and the unions that want the office to remain.Lewisham council and it's darling mayor normally are looking out for there own interests not taking on local businesses that pay rates and employ local people,I think this is a developer starting a rumour.
The people who really are interested haven't even heard about this story and when they do then appropriate actions will be planned,and probably the last place to be used will a blog.

Anonymous said...

1. Nobody really seems to know for sure if this is really happening
2. Most people don't seem bothered if their parcel collection service disappears or if a large team of people lose their jobs
3. Lots of people are excited about the idea of a gym or 'independent' shops/ restaurants opening.

In other words a typical Brockey a central thread.

Some of us will be living in Brockley forever because this is where we come from we aren't going to disappear to Surrey when secondary school choices loom, because Oscar is rather special and needs a grammar school. So,we need regular services rather than expensive cafes serving a thimble full of calamari for £10.

Ok,this site is an opportunity but also a loss for some. And one person's opportunity is apsheer indulgrnce for 50 others.

Anonymous said...

Anyway.... So, how bout a waitrose?!

Anonymous said...

I guess a big chain supermarket would put Costcutter out of business and deplete the trade at Nisa.

I wonder of the fact there is very little parking around there make a difference.

This is indeed a typical Brockley Central thread: peppered with far too many chippy class war provocations.

Anonymous said...

Just go south beyond lewisham hospital, on the left hand side theres a new low rise block of flats with a tesco underneath it (just before the job centre) - take a good look at it - that's what you'll get on that site.

kolp said...

I don't know the truth to this story as possetted at present.

But the Royal mail needs money, Lewisham needs more homes, most who live around here want the delivery collection service to remain.

So... Royal mail, keep the sorting office where it is and build homes on top to sell. This can fund a upgrade and facelift to the sorting office so better for existing local residents, it can provide homes, so good for Lewisham's home targets and income, good for Royal Mail financially and good PR wise as its a win all round?

Anonymous said...

a gym would be really nice. i could definitely overlook having to go further to collect post/relying on neighbours. brockley could do with a decent private gym.

AAA said...

@kolp

Unfortunately its just not practically feasible to have residential over what is essentially light industrial. Not saying there is no way that it could be done just that it is very unlikely that royal mail or a developer would go for such a scheme.

If nothing else you'd have to relocate the sorting office temporarily to do the work, in which case you might as well do it permanently.

Tamsin said...

Temporarily re-locate the parcel/letter collection to the sub-post office just up the road (and thank heaven that it hadn't gone the way of so many of them) and bully the Council into making the planning laws work for what their constituents want. It is a very good solution to the need for a local late post and parcel point and more affordable housing.

Alas it almost certainly won't happen that way.

With keep-fit classes in every hall in the area we do not, not need the self-indulgence of a space hungry private gym.

wondering said...

Does anyone know where parcels are collected from if the local sorting office closes down? Neighbour idea obviously not workable for majority as neighbours work too. For those without cars a trek across London would be a huge pain. Could they leave parcels at local post offices instead?

Tim said...

People. Face facts. The Royal Mail is becoming obsolete. There is less and less writing of personal letters. Bills and commercial stuff can be sent by email, it's cheaper. Parcels can be delivered by any company. Royal Mail does a bad job of it, and private companies are grabbing market share. The government has a massive fiscal deficit to deal with, and rightly little appetite to subsidise failing businesses, which fewer and fewer people use. It is only right that they try and realise from value from Real Estate transactions. Competition in the market means you don't have to use Royal Mail. The company with the best delivery arrangements should have a competitive advantage.
It's a given that the sorting office should be closed/relocated. What should go in its place? Whatever the market decides. It might be a "fancy private gym" or coffee shop because that's what people have voted for with their wallets. Or it might be small, boxy flats. But so what? Not everyone can live in a detached five bedroom home. In any society, some people have to live in small flats on a very average high street. It's better than most countries, and it's better than being homeless.

wondering said...

In my opinion Royal Mail does a WAY better job delivering parcels than other firms, simply because you can pick the parcel up locally. I won't order anything from any online retailer that uses non-Royal Mail delivery for this reason. They're a shocker, with hugely expensive phone lines to ring and the firms imagining that you want to set aside a day off work to wait for re-delivery. So by closing down their sorting offices and not coming up with a workable alternative, Royal Mail will be throwing away its best selling point when it comes to bidding for parcel deliveries.

Anonymous said...

Most people just have such packages delivered to work.

Anonymous said...

Kind of presupposes the job is in one place, it is in an office, there is a post room or facilities to accept and sign for packages or that the job is full time. Also that whatever you order can be carried home easily. A lot of people don't have jobs, they might be old or young, students or whatever.

While letter writing may have diminished ordering stuff off the Internet is booming.

It is true, most delivery services are not very good. The services seem to serve a time when households were expected to have someone at home during the day.

A parcel collection depot should not be beyond the wit of man to organise by some enterprise.

It is holding back internet retailing.

Anonymous said...

Kind of presupposes the job is in one place, it is in an office, there is a post room or facilities to accept and sign for packages or that the job is full time. Also that whatever you order can be carried home easily. A lot of people don't have jobs, they might be old or young, students or whatever.

While letter writing may have diminished ordering stuff off the Internet is booming.

It is true, most delivery services are not very good. The services seem to serve a time when households were expected to have someone at home during the day.

A parcel collection depot should not be beyond the wit of man to organise by some enterprise.

It is holding back internet retailing.

Tim said...

Completely agree. It's crazy that parcel delivery companies haven't worked out that many people are rarely in, and certainly not in the week. I always find it shocking that no one has come up to a solution to this (perhaps signing up to an hourly window on the internet, which includes evenings and weekends).
Royal Mail don't help themselves by opening only on Saturday mornings. Would be easy to open on Saturday afternoons and Sundays as well. Would be a big differentiator.

Tim said...

Completely agree. It's crazy that parcel delivery companies haven't worked out that many people are rarely in, and certainly not in the week. I always find it shocking that no one has come up to a solution to this (perhaps signing up to an hourly window on the internet, which includes evenings and weekends).
Royal Mail don't help themselves by opening only on Saturday mornings. Would be easy to open on Saturday afternoons and Sundays as well. Would be a big differentiator.

Anonymous said...

Of course, the delivery companies could do something radical like allowing the drivers to use text to arrange the deliveries. Maybe deliver in the evenings, when people are more likely to be at home (and the traffic is easier.) Maybe allowing customers to book slots at their convenience.

So do this kind of thing, but most do not. I guess once the customer has paid up, they really just want to keep the delivery costs down as much as possible.

Lewisham centre has some collection boxes at the entrance. You type in the number they text you and get your parcel.

We should have more of that.

david said...

My office won't accept personal parcel deliveries; they get turned away. I ordered my computer online and DHL delivered it a day EARLY when I'd already booked time off work to be in for it. Fortunatly my girlfriend was working at home but otherwise I'd have been off to flipping Croydon to the nearest DHL collection point. A locally-based royal mail service is clearly better than this example and I'd rather have it than another supermarket, or another cafe, or another place to eat.

@Kolp - good idea, but probably bot going to happen. Shame.

Tim said...

David,

So DHL are guilty of terrible service. I'm afraid that's not an argument for artificially keeping alive a business (Royal Mail) that is slowly dying, partly through its own incompetence, and partly because of market dynamics.

Tim

Anonymous said...

Tim get real royal mail is a boom business in Brockley we are handling more mail than we ever have,things may not be good in the outer hebrides but london needs to keep its sorting offices.Closing this office would be a mistake for the area this community needs a delivery service and collection service preserved.
No one has yet answered the question why have lewisham council been in a year long fight with royal mail seeking to stop this closure,this is just gossip to a troll with disregard for local employment.In these days there is still need to step out from behind our computer screens and go to work and make things happen.

david said...

Tim, of course it isn't, but nor is it true to say that Royal Mail are rubbish and every other courier service is better. My personal experience is that Royal Mail provide a better service than other businesses offering similiar services that I've used AND they have a decentralised model which is convenient for where I live. They certainly aren't perfect, but just because it's private sector doesn't mean it's any better.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure if DHL or one of the others had a collection point in the locality its service would be appreciated as much as that of Royal Mail.

I am sure that site does not need all that space for parcel collection.

I think we are conflating two issues here: the sorting system and parcel collection.

As far as the sorting system is concerned the Royal Mail need to choose whatever system makes sense with wary eye on the competition.

With respect to parcel collection, this is a problem all of the delivery companies need to solve.

As it stands, some of them are absolutely appalling. Delivery drivers don't seem to sufficiently incentivised to make a successful delivery and their depots are miles away.

This is a great disincentive to ordering stuff online.

LadywellLass said...

You lucky people in Brockley don't get your mail via Lewisham Sorting Office... then, quite often, neither do we...

Lewisham sorting office is such a postal black hole I always walk over to the Brockley Office to post my things, to ensure they'll actually arrive.

Personally, therefore, if we have to lose one, I'd suggest losing the Lewisham one (also on quite a prime site) and smartening up the Brockley one, otherwise you guys might find your postal service dropping off to the level ours has... your post may be under the hedge, or rained on, or in a wheelie bin - but at least it's in the vicinity of your house. But I'd prefer to keep both open, have a better service, keep people in jobs.

Delivery depots for non-Post Office companies are generally not accessable by public transport, and not everyone has a car. I agree entirely that the increase in internet ordering should mean the Post Office swap to doing delvieries in evenings and at weekends - it's just a different shift pattern - and that in turn will encourage retailers to use them and not the other companies for which you the consumer have to pay a lot more for when ordering.

Anonymous said...

Why not use the present site for Dhl ups cyc city sprint to use as a collection point,as for the sorting we spent 1.6 billion to ensure we are at the Cisco cutting edge of things but we still have the need to sort and order things

AAA said...

i think one of the supermarkets should do a deal with royal mail and start delivering post and parcels. They already have advanced pick and pack operations and evening delivery infrastructure.

Anonymous said...

There is at present a delivery service from the sorting office that delivers parcels in the evenings if requested as far as I know this is without extra charge,we seem to be ticking lots of boxes here I forward we keep things as they are,sorry guys have got to go and do a delivery now be back about 2.

AAA said...

Alternatively, the network of Argos shops would make a great network for parcel collection and the increased footfall would probably help their regular retail operation...

Anonymous said...

Argos are closing down many of their shops to concentrate on online - a further step downward for the high street - still, fill up the empty lots with coffee shops.

Incidentally, Nisa act as a hub for parcel deliveries - I've used it myself

Anonymous said...

Aha!

http://www.collectplus.co.uk/orders/new?from_postcode=brockley

If Royal Mail don't want this footfall, there are other businesses that do.

Local supermarkets may be a good fit for something like this.

I guess this is just starting.

Anonymous said...

i love the convenience of having the sorting office so close to my house and as an ebay buyer and seller i really make use of it, however it does occupy a prime bit of space in brockley that kind of disjoints the high street IMO. it would be lovely to have a gym in walking distance, at the moment i walk the 25 mins to pure gym in greenwich. cinema would also be lovely but i cant see it happening. i reckon it will become a Tescos, makes sense. or maybe a poundland!

Anonymous said...

So now we have all got creative over making another supermarket on the site of the sorting office I wonder what we will all make of the police station closing down in Brockley,or is that not in your view whilst having your posh coffee at the gantry/orchard.

Westsider said...

The police station that's never open, do you mean? Yeah, I'm sure that will be a big loss.

How will the police reach Brockley? Perhaps they'll make their way from the massive station just down the road in Lewisham.

How will people reach the police? Perhaps they'll use their ubiquitous mobile phones to call them, rather than running all the way to the Brockley station.

The station shutting (if it is) would be a non-event.

Anonymous said...

It amazes me what is news and what is not news on here i hope there are some 100 posts now about the police station shutting as there have been over the sorting office.
This will be shutting in the near future having been under threat for several years as part of the latest round of savings being made by the met.This is a community police station from which the local community support officers run out of who have replaced the wardens scheme that have been disbanded by previous cuts.Protect your community police station and sorting office.

Anonymous said...

Punch taverns are to sell on 4,500 pubs of which the wick ham arms is one so perhaps another part of our Brockley community will go to flats as did the pub over the road it the Wolsey not much left them eh.

Brockley Nick said...

Wickham Arms has been for sale for years.

I've covered the possible closure of the police station in the past. Has there been a fresh development?

Anonymous said...

The fact is that all of these things are national rather than local issues.

The Royal Mail, the Police and Punch Taverns are all making decisions about the property they own and whether it matches the services they provide and the markets they service.

We have a worms eye view and are unlikely to learn the fate of these local properties until decisions have been taken.

I guess these are not matters to which the public will be invited to engage in local democratic debate.

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