Post Office bosses announce closure
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.”