Post Of­fice bosses an­nounce clo­sure

Macclesfield Express - - NEWS - KAREN BRIT­TON

CA M PA IG N E R S have re­acted with shock after bosses an­nounced they are to push ahead with plans to close Mac­cles­field’s Crown post of­fice.

The ded­i­cated branch on Cas­tle Street will shut in March with ser­vices moved to new coun­ters at WHSmith on Mill Street, it has been an­nounced.

The town has been wait­ing for a decision as bosses con­sid­ered feed­back from a pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion in De­cem­ber.

The an­nounce­ment comes after a cam­paign by the Mac­cles­field Ex­press to save the post of­fice.

It was hoped bosses would change the plan and keep its Crown branch – which means it is run by the Post Of­fice with gov­ern­ment fund­ing rather than as a fran­chise.

There have been fears over job losses, a de­cline in ser­vice and longer cus­tomer queues.

Post Of­fice ser­vices will be pro­vided at two screened and four open­plan coun­ters at the high street newsagent.

Bosses say the Cas­tle Street branch has been op­er­at­ing at a loss for years. MP David Rutley said he is ‘dis­ap­pointed’ and will be work­ing to en­sure the same ser­vices and staff num­bers re­main. Coun Ken Ed­wards, for Cen­tral Mac­cles­field ward, said: “The decision is very dis­ap­point­ing. I’m not con­vinced the WHSmith shop has the ca­pac­ity.

“We need to keep the pres­sure on to en­sure the full range of ser­vices re­mains.”

Staff will be of­fered the op­por­tu­nity to trans­fer to WHSmith or go to another post of­fice.

Jim McNi­cholls, sec­re­tary at the Com­mu­ni­ca­tion Work­ers Union, said: “This is bad news for the work­ers and for Mac­cles­field. I don’t ex­pect the staff to trans­fer to WHSmith and that means they will take their ex­pe­ri­ence and train­ing with them.” The main ac­cess will be via an au­to­matic door from Mill Street and the man­ual side door will be re­placed with au­to­matic one.

The branch will open on Thurs­day, March 5. Open­ing hours will be 9am to 5.30pm Mon­day to Satur­day and 11am to 3pm on Sun­days.

Roger Gale, Crown net­work gen­eral man­ager, said: “The best way to keep a branch in Mac­cles­field and main­tain the same level of ser­vice is to change the way we op­er­ate.”

A WHSmith spokesman de­clined to com­ment on job num­bers, adding: “The branch will be open for an ad­di­tional seven hours a week, in­clud­ing a new Sun­day ser­vice.”

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