Accessibility is top concern over new Post Office branch in Shoreham

Post Office representatives held a forum at the Shoreham Centre
Post Office representatives held a forum at the Shoreham Centre

Dozens of residents took the opportunity to meet Post Office representatives face to face last week to discuss the proposed changes to the Shoreham branch.

The forum, held at the Shoreham Centre on Friday (June, 16), allowed the public to ‘give feedback and ask any questions’ about plans to close the Crown Office in Brunswick Road and open a new branch at Maxi’s Convenience Store in the High Street.

Andrew Mendelson from the Crown Post Office network said: “There have been general concerns about accessibility.”

Showing photos from similar stores, he said there would be a wide door for wheelchairs and room inside for queues at the new branch, which measures 10m from front to back and, though ‘smaller than the current branch’, is a different shape.

David and Randa Isaac, who have run Maxi’s Convenience Store on the high street for seven years, said it had always been their dream to run a post office from their shop.

Mrs Isaac said: “We think it’s an essential part of the community.

“To give that service to customers is an honour.”

She was convinced the store was suitable for the role – ‘otherwise we wouldn’t have come forward’, she said.

Both would be trained to provide Post Office services, while staff at the existing branch would be given the option to move if the change goes ahead in October.

Shoreham pensioner Mary Blane attended the meeting and said ‘it was nice to talk about it’ with staff.

But she still had concerns about the suitability of the proposed branch for elderly people – some of whom get their pensions from the Post Office – and said: “The high street is a no go area in the winter.”

The ‘bitterly cold’ and strong wind coming off the river – which ‘turns umbrellas inside out’ – made it dangerous, she said.

Pensioner Peggie Elford agreed and said she had been advised by her doctor to avoid the area during bad weather.

She was also worried that road-worthing scooters used by the elderly would not be able to get inside the shop.

Marjorie Sams, of Brunswick Road, said: “I don’t think Maxi’s is an appropriate site.”

She was concerned there was no would be nowhere to park and that blue badge holders, who currently make use of the disabled parking bays outside the Brunswick Road building, would have no where to park.

Mr Mendelson said the Post Office would be able to ask the council for disabled parking bays to be created if found to be necessary.

More than 1,600 people have signed a petition to keep the Post Office in its current building.

The petition will be considered as part of the decision making process, Mr Mendelson said.

Visit postofficeviews.co.uk to complete the consultation before Wednesday, June 28.