Following news that the Crown Post Office network is losing £70m a year, cost-cutting proposals are being considered which would see a number of Post Offices moved into WH Smith stores.
The Poland Street Post Office in Soho is one of the branches which stand to be affected. If the plans get the go-ahead, in May 2008 the Post Office will be transferred into the WH Smith store at The Plaza, Oxford Street, 350 yards away from its current premises.
In comparison to the national picture, thankfully this constituency has been relatively unaffected by the Post Office’s financial problems, and Post Office bosses hope that the level of service in this part of London would be unchanged by the Poland Street move. Feedback following trials in other branches has been good, and customers said they enjoyed the improved opening hours and high standard of service on offer.
A number of constituents, however, have told me they are concerned that the Poland Street move could badly affect services. Some fear that it could be harder to access the new branch as it will be located on such a busy and hectic street. There are also concerns that the sheer volume of work generated by the significant local residential and business community will be too high for the new branch to cope with.
The Post Office is now inviting feedback from local people who regularly visit the Poland Street Post Office in a formal public consultation which will close on 31 July 2007. Comments are being welcomed on the proposed opening hours, access arrangements and facilities at the new branch.
Proposals for Oxford Street branch
Opening hours: Mon-Sat 10.00-19.00
- The same wide range of main Post Office services currently available at Poland Street Post Office branch including: personal banking; financial services; car tax renewal; Post Office card account; passport application checking, foreign currency services and Lottery but with the exception of stamp vending machine. An internal ATM facility will also be available.
- Eight serving positions, which will be a mixture of open plan and traditional style positions designated primarily to Bureau de Change/Giro business banking that have the flexibility to be utilised for all other Post Office transactions, during busy periods.
- WHSmith is keen to ensure there is continued good access to Post Office services. There will be open plan level access into the branch from the shopping centre. The Post Office counter area will be carefully integrated into the current store, providing adequate room for Post Office and retail customers alike.
- Low level writing desk and serving counter, plus an induction hearing loop for those customers with hearing difficulties.
- Car parking facilities will remain the same.
- Public transport services are available to and from the surrounding residential areas.
- The new branch will be integrated into the existing WHSmith store, providing customers the opportunity to purchase an extensive range of newspapers, magazines, stationery, books and entertainment products under one roof.
Planned month of transfer: May 2008.
Location: The Plaza, 120 Oxford Street, London, W1D 1LT
To comment on the proposals
Write: Mrs Philippa Wright, National Consultation Manager, Post Office Ltd., c/o National Consultation Team, PO Box 2060, Watford, WD18 8ZW
Tel: 01226 273550
Email: via website www.postoffice.co.uk