Post to arrive later after route changes in ST6 area of Stoke
THOUSANDS of households could receive post later in the day after a shake up at the Royal Mail.
The postal company is changing delivery routes in the ST6 post code area of the city, which will mainly impact on residents and businesses in Burslem.
However, it is likely to have a knock on effect in areas including Tunstall, Haywood, Ball Green and Chell Heath.
The changes come amid growing concerns that delivery staff are struggling under the weight of heavy parcels.
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And traditional postbags are being replaced with wheeled trolleys on the new rounds.
Royal Mail has pledged to write to every address in Burslem about the proposed changes.
Collections and Delivery Office Manager, Jagdeep Bhela, said: "Royal Mail is making some changes to the way it delivers mail over the next few weeks.
"From this week, postmen and women are using new delivery methods and adopt revised delivery routes as these changes are introduced on a phased basis."
The reason for the changes have been blamed on streamlining the service.
The new trolleys will mean staff can carry more mail at once as it will be easier for them to take around.
Royal Mail will now deliver for a longer period during the day, and hope that many of their customers will get their mail by lunchtime.
However, many residents are not happy that it could mean a further change in their delivery time.
Jim Gibson, chairman of Chell Heath Residents' Association, said: "I think it could be a case of health and safety gone mad.
"Imagine back in the day what it was like for the postmen before modern technology and everyone had to post things.
"But they managed to carry everything then and there was never a problem with carrying parcels."
Royal Mail have stated that the time customers receive mail will depend on where they live on the new delivery route.
And warned that this may differ significantly from their current delivery times.
Jim added: "They have already pushed the delivery time further back in Chell Heath and we often won't get our post at a set time.
"Sometimes it can be as late as three or four o'clock in the afternoon before anything turns up.
"It will be worse for any businesses that are effected because they need to receive things on time."
The Royal Mail has also decided to change the way post is delivered to lessen the risk of injury to postmen and women from carrying heavier mail bags.
And when mail volumes vary, they may need to adjust delivery arrangements and times.
Paul Reed, chairman of Smallthorne Residents' Association, said: "Our post does tend to arrive during the course of the day.
"But most people are out at work then so I don't think a later delivery time will make a huge amount of difference.
"Although I do get the feeling it could be another cost-cutting exercise when it comes to the Royal Mail."
Mr Bhela added: The changes to delivery routes will mean that a member of our local and experienced team will still be delivering to our customers in Burslem.
"We are fully committed to providing a high quality of service that is as reliable and friendly as customers have come to expect from Royal Mail in Burslem over many years."