Calstock residents have voiced their distress over the likelihood that the Royal Mail afternoon collection service in the village will not be returning. 

This comes following an update that earlier ‘final’ collection times are to be introduced by Royal Mail for post boxes in the village this month. 

Calstock has been fighting a running battle with Royal Mail since September last year when the post box in the centre of the village was removed without warning and with no explanation.

The removal of the only post box in the centre of the village also meant that Calstock residents were left with no afternoon collection service which sparked upset in the community.

After being told by Royal Mail that the box would be replaced within 25 weeks, 33 weeks later there is still no sign of a new post box.

Calstock residents have been voicing their concerns and are demanding greater transparency from Royal Mail as to whether an afternoon collection service will be reinstated in the village and if the missing post box will be replaced at all.

Calstock resident and parish councillor, Alastair Tinto who has been fronting the battle said: ‘I’m sort of giving up hope.

‘Royal Mail told me in September that the new post box would be in place within 25 weeks, well its been 33 weeks and we’ve had absolutely no contact from Royal Mail at all.’

Another resident, Mariam Gupta, expressed further concern over the impact of the removal of the afternoon collection. ‘I’ve got an online business and I need an afternoon collection to get my letters out promptly. Royal Mail is not concerned about the public: it’s all about making money.’

The post box which was situated on Fore Street was the only post box in the centre of the village and was removed due to being deemed ‘dangerous and beyond repair’ by Royal Mail last year.

The removed post box was the only one in Calstock that provided an afternoon collection at 4pm, the nearest afternoon collection box being at Cotehele and with the other alternative post boxes in Calstock being situated at the end of Lower Kelly, Harewood Road and at the top of Church Street.

When the post box was removed, Royal Mail confirmed that a replacement would be installed as soon as possible.

Eight months on and no post box has materialised. Following this, new signs on the other post boxes in the village state that the earliest ‘final’ collection time for post boxes from May 15 onwards will now take place ‘no earlier’ than 9am Monday to Friday and 7am on Saturdays. So it is yet to be confirmed whether an afternoon collection will in fact return at all.

Linda Bunyan, a resident who made her own complaint to Royal Mail about the loss of the post box complained that ‘early mornings are not suitable for me and other old and disabled people like me to access easily.’

Mrs Bunyan received a letter from the Plymouth Customer Service Centre where she was told that ‘rather than decommission uneconomic’ post boxes, Royal Mail ‘improved the cost effectiveness of collections. The letter proceeded to explain that emptying boxes on delivery will enable greater efficiency going forwards. She was also told that ‘as you have several boxes within your area, the one that has been removed may not be replaced ... I am afraid there are no collections later in the day in most areas.’

‘So they are not going to give us an afternoon collection after all!’ said Councillor Tinto. ‘This explanation makes much more sense. And I really don’t think there is any intention of reinstating our lost post box.

‘Why can’t they be honest with us in the first place?’

A Royal Mail spokesperson said: ‘We can confirm that the post box is going to be replaced and is currently just waiting for final planning permissions before being installed in its new location. Once in place it will be ready for collections.’