A day’s worth of mail went undelivered yesterday (23 Sept) when Balham Post Office closed, as delivery drivers feared they could not park due to new TfL road markings.

At the post office on Balham High Street a sign told customers yesterday that they were unable to access their mail: 

'The posting services are not available today because of the parking issue. Royal Mail is not able to collect any collection. Sorry for any inconvenience.' 

The closure followed London Mayor Sadiq Khan's Streetspace for London scheme, which has brought in widened and temporary lanes across the capital, to make way for more walkers and cyclists. 

In a statement to Balham Newsie, the Assistant Manager of the Balham Post Office, said that Royal Mail vans were wary about fines. 

“A new solid white line for the cycle lane was marked over the weekend and since then, the Royal Mal vans can no longer stop until they have special dispensation to do so, or else they are risk of getting fines.” 

A Post Office spokesperson, added: 

“Balham Post Office is currently unable to accept mails and parcels. We are in close contact with Royal Mail and we hope the situation will be resolved as soon as possible and they can restart collections."

They said that in the meantime alternative Post Offices in Balham Hill and Cavendish Road were open.

However, the closure appeared to be a miscommunication between Royal Mail and TFL, with the Royal Mail vans exempt from parking fines. 

Wandsworth Labour Councillor, Andy Gibbons, attempted to clear up the issue: 

“Royal Mail vehicles are still allowed to park outside the Post Office, as they are exempt from red route double line restrictions.

"The cycle barriers have been placed at 8m intervals to allow them access to the kerb. We are in the process of informing Royal Mail,” he tweeted. 

However, residents remained angry about the interruptions to the postal service. 

Sam Monck, TfL's Head of Healthy Streets Investment and Delivery, defended the extended lanes. 

"Streetspace schemes such as the upgraded cycle lane in Balham are vital to help more and more Londoners walk and cycle while protected from vehicles and keeping a safe social distance.

"This will help support a recovery from coronavirus that doesn’t result in long-term congestion causing damage to the economy and the health of Londoners.

"We design our schemes with the needs of local people and businesses in mind, and Royal Mail vehicles can still access the Post Office through the eight-metre gaps in the cycle barriers.

"We have spoken with Royal Mail to make sure they know their vehicles can access the kerb this way."