December 5 2013 Latest news:
Wednesday, October 30, 2013
Plans to relocate a city post office to a nearby pharmacy have been withdrawn following a campaign against the move.
The proposal to close Vauxhall Street Post Office and move its services to Hurn Chemist in Unthank Road has been scrapped, but Post Office bosses said they are still looking to move the branch. The current subpostmaster will continue to run the office for now, but has warned he still looking to retire.
The Post Office Ltd said it had received a variety of comments during a consultation, with some people in favour of the relocation, while others were concerned it would disadvantage the large number of elderly and disabled people living in the area.
It said comments focussed on the location of the proposed new site, which was said to be too far away, with limited parking and no direct bus service from the current site.
However, other people felt Unthank Road was more convenient and welcomed the longer opening times the new branch would offer.
Will Russell, regional network manager, said: “Having listened very carefully to the views of customers and reviewed all the comments and feedback made I have decided not to proceed with the move.”
The Post Office will readvertise to find an alternative appplicant in a more suitable location, and then another consultation will be held.
Subpostmater Malcolm Wright, 65, said he was still looking to retire soon, particularly as his daughter is expecting his first grandchild early next year.
He said: “I’m shocked at the decision and I will continue to run it in the short-term but I’m not going to give any long-term promises.”
Ross Garden, of Hurn Chemist, said: “I am disappointed. We had a lot of support on Unthank Road for it and I think it would be far better situated and better supported on Unthank Road.”
Labour Norfolk County Councillor Emma Corlett, who represents Town Close, has been part of the campaign to keep the post office in Vauxhall Street, and said that while she was pleased an independent store had wanted to take on the services, many people did not feel that Unthank Road was the right location.
She said: “The dropping of proposals to move the post office will save a vital community service, and will be a big relief to the elderly and vulnerable who have been worried about the site being moved away from the Jenny Lind area for the last six months.”
Barbara Smith, 85, who lives in the Melbourne Cottages sheltered housing in Union Street, said: “Everybody there is really, really pleased because there’s no way lots of them could have got down to Unthank Road, and if they could get there they certainly couldn’t get back up the hills.”