Construction work at Chorley’s sorting office is causing chaos in the run-up to Christmas - despite Royal’s Mail’s promises to avoid the same problems from last year.
Work to expand the waiting area and car park at the office, near Friday Street, was due to finish last week, but delays have meant that people have been left out in the cold once again.
Royal Mail assured customers that an increase in the number of staff and vehicles would mean a build-up of post and long queues wouldn’t be an issue this December after similar problems in 2010.
People have been taking to social networking site Twitter to vent their anger, describing it as ‘crazy’ and ‘madness’.
One wrote: “After last Christmas’s debacle this year the car park is closed, so people are parking on double yellows and there is only one window at desk inside. Crazy.”
Another said: “Chorley Sorting Office takes customer dis-service to a whole new level of madness.”
And BBC Lancashire posted: “There was a very long line of folk and cars parked on double yellows at the parcel depot in Chorley.”
Royal Mail spokesman Mike Norman said: “In the run-up to Christmas, we are doing all we can to make it easier for customers to collect items of mail, if they are not at home during the day.
“Unfortunately due to some ongoing building works to improve the customer experience at Chorley Delivery Office, the customer parking area has been closed for health and safety reasons.
“The Callers Office in Chorley has been extended and once the building work is completed the number of parking spaces will be increased.”
He added: “To alleviate some of the problems faced we have extended the opening hours at the office every day.
“In addition to the extended opening hours, we are also putting extra staff into the Callers Office so that we can serve all our customers as quickly as possible.
“We are working hard to complete the improvements and apologise to customers for any inconvenience caused.”
Royal Mail wants to create more space for people to queue indoors, after customers were left out in the snow last year.It is also increasing the number of parking spaces from three to five, and has made more room available to store packages in the hope of providing a faster service.
But customers in the area are outraged that work on the site has been left until December.
Coun Peter Wilson, who works for MP Lindsay Hoyle, said: “While we welcome the efforts of Royal Mail to increase the space for customers to wait inside, to do the work at this time of year seems extremely late in the day, and it only adds to the problems.”
There are usually one or two staff members at the depot, but there are now four in the run up to Christmas, and the opening hours have been increased from 7am until 6pm Monday to Friday, to 6.30am until 7.30pm, and 8pm on Wednesdays.
Saturdays hours have changed from 6.30am until 2pm, to 6.30am until 5.30pm.
Customers can also arrange to have a parcel re-delivered of they do not want to pick something up from the sorting office.