Royal Mail has blamed staff sickness and vacancies at the delivery office for a postal service in the Altrincham area that local residents have described as "absolutely appalling" and "unacceptable".
Altrincham Today has been inundated with reports of significant delays to the postal service in recent weeks, with some saying it has resulted in missed hospital appointments.
We asked for feedback on our Facebook page yesterday and over 200 people responded, the vast majority negatively.
While people did not blame individual postmen and women, they did recount numerous stories of the postal delays that were impacting their lives.
Here's a small selection of the comments:
Appalling! Didn’t think it could get worse, but it has. Also, so many of my outgoing parcels never get delivered or returned to sender, while others are destroyed by careless handling.
Shocking - unacceptable in fact. Not the posties fault but management. There needs to be an intervention
Dire. We don’t have a postman for our route (in the centre of Alty!) so we have to collect our own post. If they can find it. Which they often can’t. I'm still waiting for a parcel sent at the end of November, have given up queueing for it at the delivery office.
Terrible! This week we got 3 items in one day which were posted with 2 weeks between each of them. We currently have a coffee subscription with local Alty business Two Brothers to support local, but so many of the deliveries are going missing or turning up weeks late it’s not worth it!
My birthday Thursday 30 Nov - no post then, or 1st or 2nd Dec. Monday 4th received 18 cards all postmarked from 24th Nov onwards, some first class, some second. My brother’s card postmarked 29 Nov, Kansas City, USA arrived on 4 Dec as did one from my friend in Newcastle postmarked 24 Nov! Shambolic service!
Awful! Can't remember when I last had posts, waiting for forms to come through for my sons assessment and they should have been here weeks ago! I've missed appointments because the letters have been delivered that late.
Absolutely appalling. Lucky if we get one delivery a week. A 48hr service that takes over 2 weeks.
Just had two full weeks with not so much as a leaflet.
Today, exercises sent by the Physio dept at Altrincham hospital, posted on 23rdNov, finally arrived!
Royal Mail has now responded to our request for a comment, and claimed that the service had actually "significantly improved" over the last fortnight after it brought in new staff.
A spokesperson said: "There have been some temporary delays due to sick absence and vacancies at the delivery office.
"However, performance has significantly improved within the last two weeks with the majority of mail being delivered on time. This is partly due to the recruitment of 11 new staff within the last four weeks and the addition of 18 agency staff, all helping to handle the increased volumes this Christmas."
Some residents have resorted to going directly to the Delivery Office on Welman Way in order to collect their post.
That has resulted in much bigger queues for service, with one resident describing how the queue "stretched from the entrance to Welman Way".
But Royal Mail denied that the increased number of people was unusual for this time of the year.
The spokesperson added: "There are normal levels of queuing with 5-6 people on occasion at the customer service point. This is down to the increased volume of customers that we would see during our peak season."
Last month, Royal Mail was fined £5.6m by Ofcom, the industry regulator, for missing targets relating to both first and second-class deliveries.
Ofcom said that for the 2022-23 financial year, Royal Mail had delivered only 73.7% of first-class mail on time, well short of the target of 93% of first-class mail within one working day.