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The battle to save the home delivery postal service in five areas of Orihuela Costa threatened by decisions of the postal authorities in Madrid continues. Since C.L.A.R.O. alerted the public and the local government to the serious consequences of the decision to suspend home deliveries of post in Cabo Roig, Campoamor, La Regia and La Zenia I and II as of 1 September, unless multi-mail boxes are installed, various steps have been taken to reverse this decision.

Orihuela Town Hall has not succeeded in persuading the postal authorities to change the decision. C.L.A.R.O. therefore took the lead in coordinating a formal protest against the decision by representatives of neighbourhood and commercial associations of the five areas concerned to the Spanish Defensor del Pueblo or Ombudsman, whose role it is to protect citizens from arbitrary administrative action. This formal protest objects not only to the arbitrariness and discriminatory nature of the measure but it also underlines the failure, due to an error by Orihuela Town Hall officials, to respect the procedure whereby representative of affected populations should have been consulted. The views of the representatives of the five areas are now clear – they are unanimously opposed to the measure.

In addition, C.L.A.R.O. Councillor Bob Houliston, formally requested the Mayor in the Plenary meeting of the Council on 25 June to take all necessary measures to change the decision, including, if necessary, legal action and a formal declaration of the Council Plenary to the effect that Orihuela Costa should be considered a continuous urban entity and not a collection of separate, individual urbanizations. The importance of such a declaration is that in the Orihuela Master Plan of 1990, when Orihuela Costa barely existed, it was not defined as a single integrated entity. The postal authorities have used this out of date administrative definition to allege that the density of the population and frequency of postal deliveries to households in each of the five, according to them, unrelated areas do not meet the levels required to maintain home deliveries. However, taking Orihuela Costa as a continuous, integrated urban entity with over 30,000 residents, its own Town Hall office, schools, public transport and other services, its own postal code (03189) and a single post office for the whole area, the population density and delivery frequency requirements would be more than satisfied.

In a press conference in Orihuela Costa on Friday, 4 July, in which both Martina Scheurer and Bob Houliston participated, the Mayor of Orihuela stated categorically that the Town Hall of Orihuela would appeal in the Administrative Court against the decision of the postal authorities and in the plenary meeting of the Council in July the government would present a motion, which they hope will be approved by all parties and councillors, stating that Orihuela Costa and its constituent urbanisations, form part of a single continuous urban entity. He said that this revised definition of Orihuela Costa is already included in the new draft Master Plan for Orihuela which is in the process of final approval.

C.L.A.R.O. is satisfied with these commitments and will follow with attention their implementation. We will urge the government, in its appeal to the administrative court, to request the immediate, temporary suspension of the measure, (medidas cautelares) before it comes into force on 1 September. With the steps taken or to be taken, however, there is no guarantee at all that they will lead to a reversal of the decision before 1 September. We will therefore urge the government to appeal to the postal authorities not to introduce the intended measure until the legal actions have been concluded.

The consequences of the entry into force of the measure would be extremely serious not only for those concerned who, if they are not able to install multi-mail boxes which is probably, practically impossible in most cases, would have to collect mail directly from the Playa Flamenca post office where it would only be kept for two weeks before effectively disappearing. All other users of the Post Office would be affected by the longer queues and longer waiting times inevitably caused by the perhaps hundreds of people who would be obliged to go to the post office daily to collect their mail. In other words, the postal service for all residents and businesses in Orihuela Costa would deteriorate to the point that the right to this basic service, recognised in Spanish and European law, would be compromised.

Filed under: http://www.theleader.info/article/44181/

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