BLOW FOR RESIDENTS AS POST OFFICE WON’T REOPEN
Late collapse of contract talks will leave residents without vital service
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