MP calls for Royal Mail depot to be built locally

Andover Advertiser: MP Chris Huhne. MP Chris Huhne.

A HAMPSHIRE MP has urged Royal Mail bosses to hand Eastleigh a welcome jobs boost by setting up its proposed new depot in the town.

The group wants to open a new facility in the county in the next two years, in a bid to expand its £4.2billion parcels business.

Now Eastleigh MP and former energy secretary Chris Huhne, pictured, has called for the depot to be installed in his constituency.

Up to 150 delivery and collection jobs will be created once the centre is built as part of the Royal Mail’s £75million UK-wide investment programme.

In a letter to chief executive Moya Greene, Mr Huhne said Eastleigh would be an “excellent location” for a new depot.

He wrote: “Eastleigh boasts some of the best transport links in the south of England, with direct access to the road, rail, air and sea.

“Eastleigh is home to some of the most innovative and diverse companies in the country, from GE Aviation in Hamble, to B&Q on Chestnut Avenue.

“These companies have chosen to base their operations in Eastleigh because the area has everything that a successful company would need to thrive: some of the best transport links in the south of England with rail, an airport, easy access to the M27 and M3 motorways and close proximity to Southampton docks, along with a strong, skilled and diverse workforce.”

His call comes just weeks after B&Q announced that 220 jobs would be going as part of a “restructuring” at the Chandler’s Ford-based firm.

Ford has also announced cost cutting plans to close its Southampton plant next July, putting more than 500 jobs at risk The Royal Mail has said no final decision has been taken on the location of the depot development.

Another new depot will be opened in Cornwall and a further nine existing depots either expanded or moved to larger sites over the next four years.

Mr Huhne added: “The local economy is showing remarkable robustness with clear signs of recovery.

“The number claiming Job Seekers Allowance is down again this month, representing an 11.5 per cent reduction over the last year, and I believe this is down in part to the excellent business conditions that Eastleigh provides.

“By choosing Eastleigh, Royal Mail would be investing in a fantastic location for the new depot.”

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