With great fanfare we learn that Vince Cable MP, the Secretary of State for Business, Twickenham MP and ultimate owner of the Royal Mail, has managed to persuade the company to reinstate Whitton as a postal identity. This is a small step forward in the campaign to have areas within Whitton with Hounslow postcodes redesignated as Whitton, and is a testament to the campaigning of the local residents. However, Vince Cable is selling these residents short. This announcement doesn’t change anything apart from allowing people to write Whitton onto their envelopes. Houses within TW3 and TW4 will still have Hounslow postcodes and will not come under the banner of the wider Whitton TW2 designation. The Royal Mail allow people to write Middlesex on envelopes even though this particular historic county was officially abolished by the Local Government Act 1964. Is Whitton to become like Middlesex and an administrative curiosity?
It is a shame that this fudge has been achieved at a time when Vince Cable MP sits as the ultimate owner of the Royal Mail as Secretary of State for Business. In his 17 years as MP for Twickenham now is the time that he has the real power to force the Royal Mail to do what is requested by local residents and redesignate all Whitton homes under the TW2 postcode. Residents should not sit back and allow Vince Cable to present this as a victory when it is now that change could actually happen before he sells off the business or loses his seat.
Cllr Gareth Elliott, Whitton Ward Councillor said: “While I am delighted the Royal Mail has heard local residents and their campaign it concerns me that our local MP, Vince Cable, would herald this as a victory. As the Secretary of State and owner of Royal Mail I would have expected him to be able to ensure that residents were able to achieve what they have actually requested and a redesignation of their postcodes into the wider TW2 area. Local Conservatives will continue to push the Royal Mail to deliver the right solution and will not sit back and accept this administrative fudge.”