BRADFORD TO LEEDS: Sunnybank residents want postcode change
local campaigners, along with the area’s MP, are now insisting the postcode needs to change, Image: Google Maps
Healthcare confusion, higher insurance costs and lower house prices are some of the reasons given by residents in one area of west Leeds for wanting to change from a Bradford to a Leeds postcode.
Sunnybank Grove, Sunnybank Lane and Sunnybank Avenue in Thornbury currently have a BD3 postcode, despite falling into the Leeds City Council local authority area.
But local campaigners, along with the area’s MP, are now insisting this needs to change.
According to a report, set to go before local councillors next week, reasons given include referrals made to the wrong local health authority, confusion over where hospital patients should be taken and “a perception over higher insurance costs and lower house prices”.
The paper states that, while the changing of the postcode could help resolve some of the issues brought up by residents, there is no requirement for local authority and postcode areas to be aligned.
Royal Mail have also hinted that they had no intention of changing the postcode for “non-operational reasons”, insisting it would be “illogical” to do so.
The council was approached by Pudsey MP Stewart Andrew (Con) in January 2020, in order to look at altering the postcodes. The council then consulted on the idea, even though the decision ultimately lands with Royal Mail.
A report by planning experts, set to be discussed by Leeds City Council’s outer west community committee, claimed the streets could have been getting confused by the Royal Mail with similarly-named areas in Bradford.
It stated: “Following initial investigations it was found that a discrepancy existed between Royal Mail’s database and the official street name records held by Leeds City Council such that Sunnybank was incorrectly held as ‘Sunny Bank’ in Royal Mail databases.
“This was of particular relevance as there was already a street in Bradford called Sunny Bank Avenue with a BD5 postcode, and there was some suggestion that these two streets were getting confused.”
It added that residents living in the area could be being incorrectly referred to NHS services, leading to delays in discharges.
Some residents also felt that the “BD” postcode led to “higher insurance costs and lower house prices” than would be the case if they had been in LS28.
The report stated: “A number of residents reported that they had been refused car insurance in some cases, including examples where they had moved to the area and not had any issues in the past.”
It is understood that neither of these issues are recognised by Royal Mail as relevant, as they are not accountable for how third parties use postcodes to make their decisions.
The report concluded: “Residents living on the Leeds / Bradford boundary have to navigate confusing and varied systems, particularly relating to health and social care services, which other residents of Leeds or Bradford may not experience.
“It is also clear that the health services themselves may not have managed these referrals correctly in line with their own policies on some occasions.”
A response from Royal Mail to Leeds City Council stated: “We have not and would not make changes to the postcode area responsible for a region unless it was done to improve the efficiency of our service.
“Disrupting the local mail delivery service for non-operational reasons (such as another organisation mistakenly using a postcode area to define and deliver their non-mail services) would be illogical and contradictory to our responsibilities.”
The report will be discussed by Leeds City Council’s Outer West Community Committee on Monday, November 8.
Words: Richard Beecham, Local Democracy Reporter
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