TOWN councillors are up in arms after being told they must fork out thousands of pounds to receive mail before noon.

Royal Mail has told Buckley Town Council it must pay £3,150 a year for a timed delivery service to ensure post is delivered in the morning.

The quote was given after town clerk Martin Wright wrote to the Royal Mail to complain about late deliveries.

He said: “We received a flyer from Royal Mail advising the town council of all the wonderful improvements it’s making, so I wrote back tongue-in-cheek to say the town council now receives its mail after noon.”

At Buckley Town Council meeting on Tuesday councillors were furious to hear the postal service’s demand.

Cllr Arnold Woolley said: “We should not be expected to pay additionally for what should already be covered in the price we pay for the stamp.”

Cllr Mike Peers added: “You shouldn’t have to pay for a timed delivery. You just expect to get your post before lunchtime.”

Cllr Dennis Hutchinson said: “As a resident I’m anything but satisfied with the service we receive. In the Bistre East and West wards we frequently get our mail the wrong side of 1pm.

“One day last week we got our mail at 5.15 in the afternoon. It’s totally unacceptable.”

Cllr John Woolley said he had even resorted to delivering some of his mail by hand. He added: “The proportion of missing mail that I post has been increasing over the past 12 months.

Councillors stressed they did not blame the postman.

Cllr Hutchinson added: “This is not aimed at the members of staff who deliver the mail. They work very hard and do the job to the best of their ability. This is a management problem.”

But Cllrs Carol Ellis and Neville Phillips said the problem did not affect the whole town and they had no issues with the service.

The council opted to write a letter of complaint to Royal Mail.

A Royal Mail spokesman said later: “We will investigate why the mail for Buckley Town Council is being delivered later than usual in recent months, but we would explain that in order to offer an efficient and competitive service we have had to adapt to changes in mail volumes on a national scale, with a decline in the volume of mail that we handle and a rise in the number of parcels.

“This has impacted on the time our postmen and women are going out on delivery but we do try to deliver mail as early as is operationally possible each day.

“We are absolutely not putting any pressure on customers to pay for delivery of the mail and, of course, Royal Mail’s standard six-days-a week delivery service remains free for customers at the UK’s 28 million addresses. And there is no intention whatsoever to change that free delivery service to consumers and businesses throughout the country.

“Royal Mail’s Timed Delivery service, which dates back years and has several thousand business customers, offers the option of applying for a specific time for delivery of their mail – from 6am in the morning – and the price reflects the extra work sorting the mail and making a bespoke delivery in addition to the standard free delivery.

“In addition, customers can apply for a free Mail Collect service which allows customers to collect mail from the local Delivery Office at a time that suits a customer’s needs. Mail is held securely in the delivery office and can be collected after 8.30am weekdays.”