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Axminster Post Office move scrapped

13:40 10 February 2014

Axminster Town Councillor John Jeffery said moving the post office to Martin

Axminster Town Councillor John Jeffery said moving the post office to Martin's wouldl be like putting it in the middle of the M5. Photo by Chris Carson

Archant

Protesters sink plan to relocate the service to Martin’s newsagents - near a busy road junction: Now the call is to move it to the Co-Op

Plans to move Axminster Post Office to a new home near a busy town centre road junction have been scrapped following massive local opposition.

The ‘no go’ decision comes after Axminster Town Council objected “in the strongest possible terms” to relocating the service from its current West Street base to Martins newsagents, in Victoria place.

Long-serving member John Jeffery said the area was so dangerous, with giant lorries frequently mounting the pavement, they might just as well move the post office to the middle of the M5.

This week PO regional network manager Will Russell, conceded defeat.

“We listened to concerns raised during public consultation and decided against the move because of issues over accessibility,” he said.

“We want to modernise our Post Offices and to offer longer, more convenient opening hours, but the new location was not the right location.”

He said although customers would have benefitted from a modern retail environment they had taken on board local concerns.

He said: “During public consultation we received over 60 individual responses from customers and local representatives, mainly opposing the proposed move.

“We also met with members of East Devon District Council, the town council, and the Mayor to discuss the proposal in more detail. “Consumer Futures, the independent statutory consumer watchdog for the Post Office network, also raised significant concerns about the proposed move.”

PO officials say the main feedback focussed on the location of the proposed premises which is on a bend, adjacent to a main road and the narrow width of the pavement at the entrance to the store. This, it was felt, would impact on access to Post Office services for customers using mobility scooters and wheelchairs, or those with prams and pushchairs.

They added: “After careful consideration we have decided not to proceed with the move. The branch will continue to operate from its existing location for the time being. Any new proposed location would be subject to a further six-week period public consultation.”

This week deputy mayor Douglas Hull said he would be pressing for an approach to be made to the Co-op to accommodate the Post Office within their West Street supermarket. He said it would be an ideal location with a car park and easy, safe access for customers.

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