The Post Office has announced its intention to open a branch in the McColls store on Moorcroft Road, a few doors down from the former Post Office branch which closed earlier this year
The proposal is now out to consultation Here, with a closing date of 18th September.
News of the relocation plans will come as a boost to local residents who have missed having this local facility. Over the summer local Liberal Democrat councillors collected a petition calling on the Post Office to reinstate counter services.
Local Lib Dem councillors have launched a petition calling on Post Office Ltd to reinstate Post Office services for Woodthorpe residents as quickly as possible.
The Post Office shut on 13th May, leaving residents
with a trek to Acomb or Tadcaster Road to access Post Office services
Post Office Ltd have failed to engage with local councillors or residents about the closure. They did issue a statement a few days after the Woodthorpe branch closed. It said:
“We are currently investigating the options available which will enable us to reinstate a Post Office service to the local community. In exploring this, it is important that any future service is sustainable for the person operating the service, and for Post Office Limited. Future provision will reflect customer numbers and usage and we may take the opportunity to establish an alternative type of service. This may be a new style local branch which run alongside an established retail shop in newly refurbished premises and creates a more modern and convenient experience for customers.”
Post Office Ltd have belatedly responded to the outcry from residents about the closure of Woodthorpe Post Office.
They have issued a statement on their website setting out the current situation. It states..
“I would like to assure you that we are currently investigating the options available which will enable us to reinstate a Post Office service to the local community. In exploring this, it is important that any future service is sustainable for the person operating the service, and for Post Office Limited.
Future provision will reflect customer numbers and usage and we may take the opportunity to establish an alternative type of service. This may be a new style local branch which run alongside an established retail shop in newly refurbished premises and creates a more modern and convenient experience for customers.”
Somewhat confusingly, an e-mail from Post Office Ltd to Cllr Stephen Fenton boasts that “Customer information materials will also be available in branch”!
Local Lib Dem councillor Stephen Fenton is pressing Post Office Ltd for answers on the future of Woodthorpe Post Office, after it became known locally that the branch is to cease operating on 13th May.
There have been concerns about the branch for some time. In November 2018 it was closed suddenly, and subsequently re-opened on 7 December. Then in April 2019 opening hours were reduced, with the counter closed on Friday afternoons and all day Saturday.
Stephen contacted Post Office Ltd on 3 April to raise concerns about the reduced opening times and was told in a response sent on 17 April that “I cannot see any planned changes for the branch that are upcoming and as such I have notified the Area Management Team for the branch so they can investigate further and speak with the Postmaster.”
Stephen contacted Post Office Ltd again on 26 April when it became known that the branch was to close, asking to speak with someone from the Area Management Team as a matter of urgency. No response has been received to date.
Stephen has called on Post Office Ltd to provide information to the local community, and engage with local councillors.
It would appear that Post Office Ltd is not adhering to its own Code of Practice in this situation. The Code applies to ‘the handling of the localised changes that can and do happen across such a large network for all sorts of reasons. When these changes do happen, whether they are planned or whether they occur without warning, we will always ensure that the minimum access criteria outlined by the Government are met and that the needs of customers are taken into account as much as is possible.’
UPDATE – a handwritten note has been sellotaped to the Post Office window announcing that the counter will close on Monday 13th May. Post Office Ltd tweeted on 7th May that “we’re currently awaiting further updates on this from the Area Management Team for the branch.”
Woodthorpe Post Office on Moorcroft Road has announced a reduction in its opening hours with effect from 16th April.
The Post Office counter will close on Friday afternoons at 1pm and will remain shut on Saturdays and Sundays. The shop will be open on Friday afternoons, but it will be closed all weekend.
The news comes as a blow to residents who work during the week and rely on being able to access Post Office services at the weekend. The weekend closure of the shop will hit residents who have newspapers delivered, and will particularly affect elderly residents who are less mobile.
Whilst the nearby McColls store sells newspapers, they do not offer a delivery service.
This latest setback comes after the Post Office closed without warning in November 2018. It subsequently re-opened in early December. Cllr Stephen Fenton has written to Post Office Ltd to request an explanation as to what is happening with the Post Office, highlighting the concerns being felt locally by the deterioration in the service.
We have today received a response from Post Office Ltd about the sudden closure of Woodthorpe Post Office:
“Thank you for your recent email about the Woodthorpe Post Office.
The provision of Post Office services to our customers in your community is important to us, and I’m really sorry we weren’t able to provide any advance warning of this closure.
I can confirm that this branch has been closed on a temporary basis due to circumstances outside of Post Office Ltd’s control. We can’t disclose any further details about the closure as this information is private and confidential, and I’m unable to confirm when the branch will re-open, I can however assure you that our internal teams are working to minimise this disruption in service as much as possible.
We are fully aware of the importance the Post Office has for the customers who depend on us, and I want to assure you that we remain committed to ensuring essential services remain accessible for customers in your community.
Our Area Management Team are also aware of the situation at this branch, and are working hard to identify a solution for the short-term and long-term future of Post Office services in this area. Updates will also be circulated locally as soon as possible.
I can appreciate the inconvenience and frustration this closure may have caused yourself and the local community, and in the meantime I’d advise that you use Post Office services at an alternative branch.
Once again, please accept my apologies for the temporary closure of this branch and any concern caused. If we can be of any further assistance please don’t hesitate to get back in touch with us again by replying to this email or emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org directly.”
A date has been announced – 13th April – for the planned re-opening of Dringhouses Post Office on Tadcaster Road.
The branch closed in November 2017, and shortly after the Mace store in which it was based also closed.
In an e-mail to local Lib Dem councillor Stephen Fenton, a representative from Post Office Ltd said:
“I can confirm that the branch is scheduled for re-opening on 13th April. The new operators of the business are attending training prior to this and they will also receive onsite support from 13th – 20th April. We do understand the importance of Post Office services within the local community and hope that this information will ease any further cause for concern.”
Cllr Stephen Fenton has welcomed the news: “Many residents have contacted me asking for information about when the Post Office will re-open, so it is great to have a proposed re-opening date. I am sure that the Dringhouses community will support the new business owners as they embark on this new venture.”