Mon, 28 Nov 2016
KINGSCLERE’S post office is to re-locate to a village shop, despite a battle by villagers and councillors opposing the move.
The Post Office confirmed the move from George Street to shared premises within Swan Street Stores – back to the street the post office moved from 16 years ago.
A date for the move is to be announced, according to the Post Office, which has not confirmed the number of likely job losses.
However, Basingstoke and Deane borough councillor Ken Rhatigan (Con Kingsclere) previously told the Newbury Weekly News that the postmistress of three decades would lose her job in the move, along with two other job losses.
Mr Rhatigan also highlighted a likely lack of security within an open till area.
The convenience store service will open seven days a week – an extra 59.5 hours a week, more than doubling the opening hours.
Suzanne Richardson, regional network manager for the Post Office, said: “We are making it easier for customers to get their cash, send and collect their mail and do their banking because we know how important these services are to local residents.
“We are confident that this vibrant new-style post office at the heart of the local community will meet customer needs.”
During a public consultation, the majority of feedback received by the Post Office was in support of retaining the branch at the existing site.
Customers’ concerns included parking, the busy nature of the proposed shop, the availability of space inside and privacy.
“We also received some feedback, which said that parking was better in the area surrounding the new premises,” said Ms Richardson.
Kingscere Parish Council had lodged objections to the move, with concerns including parking on busy Swan Street, lack of dropped kerbs for disabled access, loss of social aspect and village facility.
The modernisation is part of a national investment programme by the Post Office. Up to 42 branches countrywide face the axe, with around 1,000 jobs on the line, after bosses issued a list of loss-making branches, sparking speculation of a mass sell-off.
The new-style local branch will see Post Office products and services provided from an open-plan till at the retail counter of the convenience store, from Monday to Saturday (6am to 8pm) and Sunday (9am to 7pm).