The Post Office has announced that the Chichester branch will be moving from its current location, despite uproar from the community.
The Post Office will be relocated to British Bookshops Sussex Stationers – owned by WHSmith – in North Street to create a ‘modern open-plan branch’ for customers.
The new branch is set to open on October 6, it has been revealed today.
Roger Gale, general manager for the Post Office’s Crown branch network said that the change would ‘help to ensure the branch is commercially viable into the future and therefore protect Post Office services on which customers in Chichester depend’.
“Our customers’ needs continue to change and we are responding to that, taking the right action to sustain our services for years to come,” said Mr Gale.
“We are committed to remaining on high streets and at the heart of communities and we are making changes right across our network to enable us to do so.
“We believe the WHSmith premises will provide an excellent host location for the new Crown Post Office.
“The service will still be run by us and customers will be served by the same branch team.
“The WHSmith retail offer will complement the wide range of Post Office products and services, which will continue to be available following the move.”
In response this morning, Cllr Nigel Galloway tweeted to say he was ‘disappointed’ that the Post Office had ‘ignored local opinion’.
He said: “I’m really disappointed that the Post Office has ignored local representations particularly those made by the Chichester City Council, which was strongly opposed to moving the Post Office.
“We unanimously objected and had concerns about whether the shop was suitable for a Post Office etc, and we wanted to see the main Post Office in West Street maintained.”
When news first broke of the proposals, residents spoke out in outrage, calling the plans ‘ridiculous’.
Resident Melanie Brown-Levitt said: “Leave it where it is, that Post Office gets really busy with queues coming out of the door – there won’t be room in the book shop for that amount of people. It’s absolutely ridiculous.
“It’s supposed to be a historic city so let’s leave it as one and stop trying to keep up with everyone else.”
The Chichester branch will continue to be operated by Post Office Ltd and to provide the same wide range of services, with the exception of a cash machine.
However, it is intended to provide a cash machine, subject to relevant permissions being obtained.
The Post Office’s final plans for the new Crown Post Office have been shaped following a six-week public consultation.
It will have its own designated area on the ground floor of the store and feature low level counters, PIN pads, hearing loops and customer seating.
The new branch will have seven counters and four self-service kiosks, with opening hours from 9am until 5.30pm Monday to Saturday, opening at 9.30am on Tuesdays.
The last day of service at the current branch is October 5.
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