Harpenden resident asks: “Do collection changes herald the death of the post box?”

The post box on the corner of Station Road and Arden Grove

The post box on the corner of Station Road and Arden Grove - Credit: Archant

A reduction in the way mail is collected has sparked questions about the potential ‘death’ of the humble post box.

Some post boxes in Harpenden will now be emptied on an ‘ad hoc’ basis – once, and early in the day.

Letters posted early in the day - but after the box has been emptied, at an unspecified time – will not be picked up until the next day.

Royal Mail notified customers recently that “in order to improve efficiency” they were “reviewing mail collection arrangements and revising collection times”.

A label on a Harpenden Station Road post box explained that from December 8, the final collection from the post box in Station Road, Harpenden, “will be made no earlier than 9am”, Monday to Friday and 7am on Saturday.

The wording is confusing - but Royal Mail explained that some lesser-used boxes will be emptied any time between 9am and 3pm, by postmen/women at the end of their morning deliveries.

Labels will be put on affected boxes in advance. A metal clip will be placed on the box to let customers know. But they won’t know when setting off to walk to the box, if they have ‘missed the post’ for that day or not.

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A Harpenden-based marketing consultant, who runs his own business, said: “I work from home and if you work on a letter during the day, and post it at the end of the day, it won’t get collected until the following day.

“Cancel evening deliveries and collect first thing in the morning, so that first class ‘next-day’ delivery can be undertaken using the additional eight hours – so it’s really ‘day after next day’ delivery.”

Royal Mail say no boxes will be removed and all boxes affected have others, which are emptied more frequently/later in the day, within half a mile.

The resident, who wishes to remain anonymous, added: “They’ve given themselves an extra day to do their delivery. It’s quite cheeky.

“If it is going to take that long, then why bother? Why not just send an email?

“They’re shooting themselves in the foot. People just won’t bother.

“The service is just being trimmed down and down. Maybe we don’t need post boxes any more. When do we use post boxes? I had to post a paper questionnaire the other day but we only really use Royal Mail for birthdays.”