WE are carrying out some local improvements in the Darlington area. They are designed to bring our business more in line with changing customer needs. More and more of us are shopping online.

Darlington Delivery Office is to decommission one letter sorting machine at the site. We need to increase our focus on managing parcels in Darlington. Parcel volumes are growing.

Letter sorting machines help Royal Mail sort letters in some delivery offices. They have done a great job. But, letter volumes have declined by 50 per cent since 2004. People are posting fewer letters and ordering more parcels. We expect letter volumes to fall by about 26 per cent over the next five years or so. The initiative will have no impact on the high quality of service we offer to customers sending and receiving letters in the area. Royal Mail wants to invest £1.8bn over five years to turnaround and grow its UK business. This is one of the biggest investment commitments made by any UK company.

We want to change from a UK letters company that delivers parcels to a parcels-led company that delivers letters.

The investment programme will focus on customer service improvements, digital initiatives and new ways of working.

This is all about sustaining your one-price, go-anywhere Universal Service.

Shane O’Riordain, royal mail managing director of regulation, corporate affairs and marketing