Plans to relocate Honiton Post Office come under fire

PUBLISHED: 15:00 30 April 2016 | UPDATED: 08:47 03 May 2016

Honiton post office. Ref mhh 04-16TI 9748. Picture: Terry Ife

Honiton post office. Ref mhh 04-16TI 9748. Picture: Terry Ife

Archant

The post office has faced backlash from residents after the company lodged proposals to relocate the Honiton Post Office branch to WHSmith.

The post office has faced backlash from residents after the company lodged proposals to relocate the Honiton Post Office branch to WHSmith.

Details of how the new branch would operate were also dispensed by the company.

The new branch, which would be around 100 metres away from its current position, would operate with extending opening hours for customers and offer the same range of post office services available seven days a week.

The post office will be inviting customers and interested parties to give their comments on the proposed move in a six-week public consultation, which started last Wednesday (April 20).

The proposals have already faced heavy criticism from residents, who have taken to Facebook to give their views. One labelled the proposals as an ‘atrocious decision’, while another questioned how the new branch would operate.

She posted: “What plans have been put in place for businesses who collect their post from the post office? Will they be able to do this at WHSmith? Really bad decision to close the post office.”

Colin Wright, president of Honiton and District Chamber of Commerce, said that the group would like to see the post office remain as a crown office, either in its existing or a very near location.

He added: “The alternative of becoming a franchise in a town centre shop is not ideal but better than nothing.”

But Roger Gale, general manager of the Post Office Crown Network, said the proposal means that the services would be kept on the high street, adding: “Our customers will be offered the same range of services, with more convenient and longer opening hours, including Sundays.

“WHSmith already operates 107 post office branches from their stores in the UK and we have been successfully working with them for nearly ten years. They have a proven record of running post offices with consistently high levels of customer service.”

Mr Gale said the proposal for Honiton Post Office branch would help secure the long-term viability of services for local customers. He added: “We are making sure we take the right action to sustain services for years to come.”

Subject to consultation, the new Honiton Post Office branch will have three serving positions, a mixture of one screened and two open-plan counters. Existing staff at Honiton’s current branch have the right to transfer their employment to WHSmith if they wish to do so.

Customers can provide views during the consultation via www.postofficeviews.co.uk, emailing comments@postoffice.co.uk, calling 03457 223344 or by post: FREEPOST Your Comments.


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