Lib Dem campaigners have spoken out against plans to close Bath’s main Post Office and replace it with a branch managed by WH Smith in the store on Union Street.
Post Office Ltd announced the relocation earlier this month and is consulting on the details of the move. However, there has been criticism that the move away from direct management is not open for consultation.
City-centre Councillor Andrew Furse (Kingsmead) commented:
“It’s hugely disappointing that residents are not being given the opportunity to comment on the change of location and management of Bath’s main Post Office. This feels like yet another local service being downgraded with local people being given no say in the matter.
“It’s clear that the new branch will be inferior in terms of size, accessibility, convenience, and breadth of offer. It will no longer be located next to a bus stop and vehicular access to the pedestrianised area is impossible.
“With no easy drop off point and a busy store to negotiate, elderly people and those with impaired mobility, who depend on the Post Office for many services, will be particularly disadvantaged.
“The loss of a prominent location will also make life difficult for the many visitors to Bath who need access to Post Office services.”
Manda Rigby, a Bathwick resident and Lib Dem activist, added:
“The current facility is very well used for the wide range of services it provides, by both residents and business owners. WH Smith is already a very busy store and it’s not obvious that enough space can be made available for such a busy Post Office.
“I’m concerned that little information is available about the how services will be provided at the new branch. Will the counters be operated by expert Post Office staff? And will key services, such as passport checking, continue to be available? This needs to be urgently clarified.
“It’s a shame the Council didn’t deploy some joined up thinking and facilitate a solution whereby if there was spare capacity at the current Post Office location, it could be used to reinstate a city centre police presence.
“Throughout the city people rely on this Post Office for many services, and its new location is nowhere near as convenient or accessible. I will be responding to the consultation and making my objections known. I would encourage all residents to do likewise.”