Mere months after it was closed, the Maidstone Royal Mail sorting office on Sandling Road may be reopened. In the summer, the Maidstone postal centre on Sandling Road was one of four centres to be closed in accordance with a £70 million government modernising programme throughout Kent.
This programme resulted in Maidstone, Dartford, Canterbury and Tonbridge postal offices being relocated to the Medway Mail Centre in Rochester and delivery services being transferred to Park Wood. This initiative resulted in 250 redundancies and 860 employment transfers. Moreover, 200 members of staff from the Maidstone sorting office received extra payments to reimburse the expenditures of reaching the new location which is situated 4.3 miles away.
Suspicions have been raised as to the future of the Maidstone sorting office after the county town site was put up for sale, yet letting agent Jones Lang LaSalle then confirmed it was suddenly removed from the market without explanation. Following these suspicions, Royal Mail has revealed at a business briefing meeting at the Town Hall that it is considering reopening the centre.
The meeting was originally called by town centre management in order to discuss the potential impact of the proposed Newnham Court Retail Shopping Centre on Maidstone’s existing traders. However, when members voiced the possibility of building the shopping centre on the land occupied by the sorting office, developers revealed that this site was no longer available. Nick Green, the director at property agent Savills, advising Land Securities, stated that;
“The post office sorting site is no longer available. They have decided to take it off the market and retain for its own use. They want to occupy it as a sorting office.”
However, in stark contrast, Tim Cowen, the director of consumer and business media relations at the Royal Mail Group Ltd, stated;
“We are not planning to do anything with that site. Our position has not changed.”
However, suspicions continue to linger due to the fact that Cowen refused to explain why the sorting office had been taken off the market so suddenly.