Lancaster Post Office to close and reopen in WHSmith

Lancaster Post Office. Photo by Google Street View.
Lancaster Post Office. Photo by Google Street View.

The Post Office in Lancaster will close and move to a new location above a high street shop.

Following a six-week consultation with members of the public, the Post Office has announced it will move its services to WH Smith in Market Street, and provide a seven days a week service to customers.

Post Office Lts said the new branch would “continue to provide the same wide range of services, with the exception of a cash machine”.

Lancaster MP Cat Smith said she was “hugely disappointed” with the decision.

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 protect Post Office services for customers in Lancaster. He said: “Our customers’ needs continue to change and we are responding to that, taking the right action to sustain our services for years to come.”

A spokesman said customer access both into and within the store will meet Post Office’s own stringent standards and all applicable legislation.

Aisles will be widened and the Post Office will have its own designated area, with its layout including low-level counters, PIN pads and hearing loop, as well as customer seating. The new branch will have four counters, with opening hours from 9am to 5.30pm Monday to Saturday and 12pm to 4pm on Sundays.

The last day of service at the current branch is October 12. The new branch will open on October 13 2016, with existing staff having the right to transfer their employment to WHSmith in line with TUPE legislation.

Ms Smith said: ““I’m hugely disappointed by the decision taken by the Post Office to close the historic Lancaster Crown Post Office on Market Street. I remain unconvinced by some of the practical arrangements for disabled customers accessing the first floor of WHSmith where services will be relocated to.

“I am also concerned for the future job security, terms and conditions for current Post Office staff as I have heard accounts of other staff, elsewhere in the country, having their job terms slashed by WHSmith after being transferred over.

“I will be watching the Post Office closely and holding them to account, standing up for vulnerable Post Office users who may struggle with the new arrangements.”