Penrith post office future
OPPOSITION is gathering to plans by the Post Office to relocate its main Penrith outlet from Crown Square to the WHSmith store in Angel Square.
The proposal is part of a national move aimed at streamlining the post office operation by offering it to franchise partners, and Penrith already has a second post office in Burrowgate’s Spar shop under a similar arrangement.
The protests have succeeded in uniting the area’s MP, Rory Stewart, and the Keep Penrith Special Campaign, who have expressed fears of possible reductions in services and a lack of space in the proposed new location.
The Post Office has carried out similar moves in towns up and down the country, where historic post office buildings have closed in favour of branches based in retailers.
While it is understandable that changes to a key community service such as the post office create uncertainty, the company has assured residents that the vast majority of services will continue unchanged.
In addition, it has said that the move to the new location would result in the post office having longer opening hours, including on Sundays.
The six-week consultation period now under way is the community’s chance to have its say on the future of what is a lifeline service for many. If the use of the post office building is to come to an end, leaving another town centre premises vacant, there needs to be good reason.
In a competitive commercial environment, the Post Office says the move is about safeguarding services for the community. Whether this argument holds water with Penrith-area residents will become clear when the results of the consultation are known.