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Post Office warned: 'Don't take us for fools over move'

30 Oct 2018, 17:18 ... over-move/

BOSSES at the Post Office have been told not to take the people of Colchester "for fools" after proposals were revealed to close the main Post Office in the town.

Sir Bob Russell, High Steward of Colchester, has written to Post Office bosses asking them to reconsider their decision to close its Crown Post Office in Head Street, Colchester.

The decision was announced last week, with bosses saying it would be moving its services into WH Smith, in Lion Walk.

Critics have said the "appalling proposals" will cause chaos for the thousands of people who use the service.

Sir Bob Russell, in a letter to Post Office bosses, said: "What the Post Office is proposing will provide a much worse service in cramped accommodation.

"You simply cannot replicate what is currently provided on the ground floor of the Post Office in Colchester, in a prime location facing the High Street at the major junction of Head Street with North Hill, by cramming the counters into the first floor of WH Smith in Lion Walk precinct.

"It is a nonsense to pretend that what is currently provided in the Post Office can be equally offered in the first floor of a retail shop.

"Please do not take the people of Colchester to be fools.

"I suggest that the Post Office remembers that it is a public service, owned by the public, and act accordingly."

When the North Hill building closes, services are planned to move to the High Street giant’s base, in Lion Walk shopping centre, where a major refurbishment is planned.

That work will see a new post office housed in a dedicated area and opening hours extended to include Sunday opening.

A six-week public consultation is planned, though no starting date has been fixed.

The post office is one of 33 across the country which is being handing over to the high street giant on a franchise basis.

A Post Office spokesman said: "We announced a new deal with WH Smith to relocate up to 40 Post Offices into WH Smith stores in 2019, and for WH Smith to take over the running, on a franchise basis, of a further 33 Post Offices which are already sited on their premises but currently operated directly by Post Office.

“Colchester Post Office is proposed to be franchised to the nearby WH Smith store.

“We don’t yet have a confirmed date for this but any proposed changes will be subject to a public consultation where we will seek the views of our customers and local stakeholders in line with our Principles of Community Engagement."

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