Late col­lapse of con­tract talks will leave res­i­dents with­out vi­tal ser­vice

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - YOUR TELEGRAPH - By Joel Lamy [email protected]­me­ Twit­ter: @PTJoelLamy 01733 588728

The loss of a vi­tal Post Of­fice ser­vice for res­i­dents in the Or­tons will be a “hideous night­mare”, ac­cord­ing to a city coun­cil­lor.

The branch at McColl’s in the Or­ton­gate Shop­ping Cen­tre, Orton Gold­hay, closes to­mor­row, but plans to move it into nearby QD Stores have col­lapsed at the last minute.

The Post Of­fice said ar­range­ments which had been agreed with the dis­count re­tailer had changed and that it is now ex­plor­ing “other op­tions”.

But Cllr Julie How­ell, Green Party rep­re­sen­ta­tive for Orton Water­ville on Peter­bor­ough City Coun­cil, who has been cam­paign­ing to keep a Post Of­fice ser­vice in the area, said: “This is a hideous night­mare. This is des­per­ately bad news for peo­ple who live in Orton who had been re­as­sured and now had that peace of mind snatched away.”

The clo­sure of the branch in McColl’s was re­vealed last March, but there ap­peared to have been a re­prieve for res­i­dents af­ter QD Stores in the Or­ton­gate cen­tre agreed to take over the ser­vices.

In­deed, it was only last month the Post Of­fice had con­firmed an open­ing date for the new branch was next Mon­day, which makes the an­nounce­ment that con­tract talks have col­lapsed a sur­prise.

The set­back fol­lows the loss of the Orton Mal­borne branch at Her­ling­ton last July.

A spokesper­son for the Post Of­fice apol­o­gised for the “in­con­ve­nience” of the “tem­po­rary break in ser­vice”, adding: “Un­for­tu­nately the ar­range­ments we had in place to main­tain Post Of­fice ser­vices in the area with a new, in­de­pen­dent re­tailer have changed, and we are now ex­plor­ing other op­tions to en­sure Post Of­fice ser­vices will con­tinue to be avail­able.”

Andy Jermy, head of com­mer­cial op­er­a­tions at QD Qual­ity Dis­counts, said: “This was not a de­ci­sion taken lightly as we had been very keen to of­fer Post Of­fice ser­vices at our Peter­bor­ough store.

“How­ever, we have been un­able to agree a con­tract with the Post Of­fice on terms that suit them and which are com­mer­cially vi­able for us.”

Three mem­bers of staff will be im­pacted by the loss of the Post Of­fice, McColl’s con­firmed, but it has not said how their em­ploy­ment will be af­fected. A spokesper­son for the con­ve­nience store said its last day of trad­ing is to­mor­row, adding: “We are sad­dened to no longer be op­er­at­ing the store and our pri­or­ity is to sup­port all af­fected col­leagues.”

Cllr Julie How­ell (front, se­cond from right) demon­strat­ing pre­vi­ously against the loss of the Post Of­fice

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