The Post Office has defended its decision to move the city’s branch to ‘ensure future sustainability’, despite being met with protest from the public.
It was revealed last week that 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.
However, this announcement came as a shock to many after the community spoke of their ‘outrage’ at the ‘ridiculous’ plans during the public consultation.
City councillor Sarah Sharp has spoken out suggesting that if the public’s opinions continue to be ignored, eventually no one will share their views.
She said: “There is a consultation overload and the more consultations we have where the public is discounted, the less likely they will be to share their opinions again – that is probably why only 55 people took part.
“The general opinion is we don’t want the Post Office to move. It is in a prime location next to the bus stop. I’m fit and healthy so I can walk the extra distance but think about the elderly or the disabled.
“We may be listened to but our opinions are not being acted on. These consultations are giving people false hope, it feels as though decisions are being made before the consultation.”
A spokesperson from the Post Office said: “During the public consultation period we received 55 individual representations from customers and local representatives.
“The main areas of feedback were around ease of access to the proposed new location, because it is within a pedestrianised area which is further away from the bus stop.
“Concerns were also expressed about the size of the premises and whether it would be large enough to accommodate additional customers, as well as providing ease of access to the Post Office area.
“Although there are no bus stops in the pedestrianised area, we anticipate that customers using public transport would continue to use the stop outside the existing branch,” the spokesperson continued.
They added that they understand that during the farmers’ market the city is busier, however the pedestrian area is wide and traders are required to make sure that their pitches are kept tidy and don’t cause obstruction.
The Post Office spokesperson said: “We understand of course that some people would prefer the Post Office could remain as it is but, if we do not take action, we cannot ensure future sustainability.”
The new Post Office is set to open in North Street on October 6.
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