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Concerns for the future of Harrogate’s Crown Post Office are set to be raised in Westminster Hall in a bid to fight plans to downgrade 40 branches nationwide.
Andrew Jones MP for Harrogate and Knaresborough has secured a Westminster Hall debate on November 6, concerning the provision of Post Offices in North Yorkshire.
The debate comes just weeks after the Post Office announced plans to relocate 40 of its branches into WHSmiths stores, including the main branch in Harrogate on Cambridge Road
But ahead of the main debate, Mr Jones met with Post Office officials and other Parliamentary colleagues on Tuesday to discuss the proposals in an All Party Parliamentary Group meeting.
He said: “We had three members of senior Post Office management including the network director. There were also quite a few colleagues from the House of Commons and the House of Lords as well.
“The main feeling people will have taken from that meeting is that Members of Parliament are very unhappy.
“There is an enormous amount of work to be done with the Post Office but they know we are not pleased. I’m not happy with these proposals and I think there are other options.
He added: “This is a step in completely the wrong direction.”
After launching a survey and petition against the plans in Harrogate last week, Mr Jones said it had gained 671 signatures so far.
Mr Jones said his debate will discuss how to make Post Office services sustainable.
He said: “They have been very quiet on detail. The Post Office also play a crucial role as a community bank for small businesses and many others. The role of a Post Office in supporting business is critical, we should be doing all we can to encourage independent businesses.”
Mr Jones added that access at Harrogate’s Post Office would also be a key issue in the debate.
He said: “This gives me a chance to put everything on the record with the Minister and ask some big questions.”
Share your views with Mr Jones by emailing email@example.com
The Harrogate Liberal Democrats have also joined the stand against the plans.
Their leader, Harrogate councillor Pat Marsh (Hookstone Ward,) said: “The Government is downgrading our Post Offices and this cannot be allowed.
There may not be enough space in the existing WHSmiths store in Harrogate to relocate a Post Office that offers the service our present Post Office does.
“We hope there is meaningful consultation and not just a box ticking exercise and that people’s opinions and concerns are really listened to. Our town centres are already suffering as online shopping impacts on the retail sector.
“To remove this valuable service to what could be a hidden space in another retail outlet, with no parking for the disabled, could have a negative impact on our High Street. We need local people to make their opinions known.”
You can send views to Judith Rogerson, the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate for Harrogate and Knaresborough. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org