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York to lose postmark
YORK’S traditional postmark – as well as almost 160 jobs – will be lost when the city’s mail sorting office begins closing down this month.
Royal Mail has revealed that all items posted in the York postcode area will be sorted at a new high-tech centre near Leeds within the next few weeks, instead of York’s Leeman Road complex.
Mail including postcards sent by tourists visiting York will then carry the Leeds postmark instead of that of the historic city.
A Royal Mail spokeswoman said a postmark denoted where mail was processed, not posted.
York Central MP Hugh Bayley said he was concerned about the change.
He said: “York is one of the most visited tourist destinations in the UK.
“The York postmark is unique and valued by the tourist industry, local businesses, visitors to York and York residents. None of these groups would want to see the York stamp disappear.”
But the spokeswoman said the postmark was used to cancel postage on stamped mail, which was only a small proportion of the mail it handled – about 12 per cent nationally. “The majority of mail now has a prepaid postage mark or a franking mark and so does not need a postage cancellation mark.”
She said 157 jobs were going in York, with about 60 posts transferring across to Leeds.
But there had not been any compulsory redundancies, and staff wishing to remain within the business would continue to do so, either by transferring to Leeds or working on deliveries in York.
“We will also – in line with our business policy – reimburse our staff for any extra mileage incurred by the changes in their place of work.”
She said the next phase of the changes would take place early next year, when mail posted to York from elsewhere in the UK would be processed in Leeds instead of Leeman Road.
She stressed that the changes would not affect mail deliveries, which would still be handled by staff at Leeman Road, and customers would still be able to post mail at Leeman Road up to 6pm Monday to Friday – compared to 6.30pm at the moment – and up to 1pm on a Saturday.
She said the programme to modernise Royal Mail was one of the biggest transformations in UK industry currently taking place.
“We need to modernise in response to the decline in the volume of posted mail and to introduce the latest technology to our sorting centres.
“The expansion of our Leeds site represents a significant investment by Royal Mail in services in the North East & Yorkshire.”
Mr Bayley said he had concerns that standards of service would suffer, as Leeds staff with poorer knowledge of the York area became involved in processing York’s mail, and he called for the impact of the changes to be closely monitored.