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Bradford's Forster Square Royal Mail building is up for sale
Royal Mail’s central sorting office in Bradford is up for sale.
The Forster Square building has been put on the market months before it shuts by August this year. The move is part of a modernisation plan to see the city centre sorting operation centralised in Leeds instead.
Community leaders have voiced concerns that the premises, being marketed by Leeds-based DTZ, should not become empty.
They are also worried the loss of jobs to the city, by moving employees elsewhere, will be felt hard by traders in the centre.
Royal Mail spokesman Felicity MacFarlane confirmed the Forster Square space was being sold and said: “Some 184 members of staff currently based at Bradford Mail Centre will relocate to the newly refurbished Leeds Mail Centre as part of our transformation and modernisation programme.
“Some 47 staff will stay in the Bradford area on collection and delivery duties. Another 119 people have chosen to take voluntary redundancy. There will not be any compulsory redundancies.”
Bradford Chamber of Trade secretary Val Summerscales said: “If jobs go from the city centre, then footfall goes with them. Organisations make these decisions to go without any thought of the impact it will have on other businesses around them. It will be a loss that will be felt.”
Bradford Council leader Councillor David Green, (Lab) said: “Clearly, any organisation moving out of the city centre is a concern but what’s equally a concern to me is that I remain to be convinced that the way Royal Mail is reorganising itself, not just Forster Square but its overall organisation, will be of any great benefit to its customers or staff.
“We would hope we can continue to work with them to negotiate the site to get some alternative development on the site.”
Bradford West Respect MP, George Galloway, said the movement of jobs out of the city centre to other areas and districts would “deprive” shops and services of much needed income.
The Royal Mail sorting office, it says, could become shops, offices and even homes.
Communication Workers Union Secretary for Bradford, Bob Hulme, confirmed there had been no compulsory redundancies.
News of the Forster Square closure was broke by Royal Mail in 2010, who blamed it on a decline in mail in the city.