Petition to save Worthing's Post Office launched
Members of Worthing's local Labour party have launched a petition to save Worthing's Post Office in Chapel Road.
The Post Office announced proposals to close the counter Post Office and open a branch at WHSmith in South Street last month.
It said the proposed move, which would come into effect in March 2019, was the best way to secure ‘the long term viability’ of Post Office services in Worthing.
Labour members launched a petition opposing the proposal on Friday, December 14, and have already gathered more than 500 signatures.
Beccy Cooper, leader of the Labour Group on Worthing Borough Council, said: “The response to the petition from the public has been overwhelmingingly supportive.
“People are very angry and upset at the thought of it moving.”
The accessibility and size of the proposed new Post Office were among the concerns raised over the plans, she said.
“If it moves to WHSMith there are issues about access. We would worry about access for disabled people,” she said.
“The Post Office is very busy and the Smiths site is far smaller, will it be able to cope with the volume of people?
“It is in a thriving area and it brings business into that part of town. If it closes down, what will happen to that building?
“We would look to protect jobs, that’s very important. If it moves, will the jobs be protected?
“I appreciate that this has already happened in neighbouring parts of our county but it’s important to make sure we are doing the best for the people of Worthing.”
The new branch at WHSmith will operate from a newly built dedicated open plan Post Office area on the ground floor, a spokesman for the Post Office said.
This will be located to the rear of the premises on the right hand side of the WHSmith store.
The new branch would have extended opening hours, including Saturday afternoons and Sundays, the Post Office confirmed.
A Post Office spokesman said: “WHSmith has been successfully operating Post Offices within its stores since 2007 and currently runs over 130 branches.
“Throughout this extended period they have satisfied us that they will be able to successfully run the branch in Worthing, by showing that they can deliver excellent standards of customer service, with trained staff promoting products and services in a modern environment.”
A spokesman for the Royal Mail, which owns the building currently used by the Post Office in Chapel Road, said: “Royal Mail will consider its options for the space if the Post Office vacates the premises.
“We have no current plans to relocate Worthing delivery office to another site.”
The Post Office are consulting on the plans, seeking feedback and comments on how easy it is for people to get to the proposed new location, whether the premises are easy for people to get into and whether they are accessible once inside.
To have your say in the consultation visit www.postofficeviews.co.uk