Councillors are urging Royal Mail to end the decades of confusion of the identity of Blackwater, Hawley and Frogmore among others
Town councils have joined forces to urge Royal Mail to stop confusion over community identity by recognising Blackwater as a postal town.
For decades Blackwater, Hawley, Minley, Frogmore and Darby Green have had Surrey postal addresses although they are all, and always have been, in Hampshire.
This anomaly has caused countless problems to residents over the years and as a result Blackwater and Hawley Town Council and Yateley Town Council have decided to start a campaign to get Royal Mail to give residents geographically correct addresses.
Councillor Adrian Collett, chairman of Blackwater and Hawley council and member of the town council, is leading the campaign and said it would not be an easy battle.
“We are not expecting an easy win, we know it is going to be a tough battle. But it has had such an impact on businesses and residents in the area it has been a problem for decades,” he added.
“It is wrong that Royal Mail can be a law unto themselves on this issue with no one able to hold them to account.
“Any other issue which affected communities as a whole in this way would have to go through a proper democratic accountability process.” He said the postal address is designed to ensure the accurate sorting, routing and delivery of mail and that the councils had heard numerous stories of serious problems caused by the confusion surrounding the Camberley, Surrey postal address imposed by the Royal Mail.
Services provided on a county basis such as education and the police are prime examples of where many problems have been experienced, said Cllr Collett.
The question of community identity has also been affected with some residents believing they are living in one county while actually living in another.
Cllr Collett added: “People have been contacting me about it for years about how much it has impacted on their lives.
“A gentleman in Darby Green wanted to register his business but struggled because his postal address was in Surrey yet he was a Hampshire resident.”
Yateley and Sandhurst once had a Camberley, Surrey, postcode but 15 years ago Royal Mail changed this giving Yateley a Hampshire address and Sandhurst, a Berkshire address instead.
Their argument at the time was that Yateley and Sandhurst’s post was to be dealt with at a new sorting office in Sandhurst but Blackwater, Hawley, Frogmore and Darby Green’s post was still to go via the Camberley sorting office.
Sally Hopkins, spokesman for Royal Mail, said postcode boundaries did not necessarily reflect geographical or administrative boundaries. “As we have stressed for a number of years, the county information is not required for postal purposes and the database has not been amended during this time,” she said.
“We do encourage external organisations not to use or rely on the county information. Royal Mail circulates mail by way of a post town and recognises that changes to post towns affect a large number of addresses and therefore have implications for many householders and businesses.
“Such changes can also have a significant impact on Royal Mail’s distribution network.
“As stated in our Code of Practice, for these reasons changes will only be made for postal, operational and efficiency reasons.”
Both councils will jointly send a letter to Royal Mail asking for the changes while residents and businesses are being asked to support the campaign by contacting the town council offices.