Mr Toner says: “When these moves have happened in other cities, CWU members have seen the impact that they can have on local communities, particularly disabled people, when access is reduced. The Post Office should remain in public hands, and the transfer to WHSmith will no doubt have a detrimental impact on post office services. We will be campaigning against it.”
Daniel Zeichner, MP for Cambridge, has criticised proposals to move Cambridge’s main Post Office into WH Smith. He has joined councillors and trade unions in condemning the plans, and predicts a strong response from Cambridge people. The proposal is part of a larger franchise deal between Post Office and WHSmith that will result in 40 stores being relocated to WHSmith.
Daniel Zeichner said: “Our post office in St Andrew’s Street is very-heavily used and is a key part of our city, and part of our city identity. Like many others, I am tired of seeing the commercialisation of the institutions that make up our communities and I anticipate a strong response from Cambridge people. Earlier this year, the Government tried to take away our Magistrates Court, and we beat them off. Now they want our Post Office. Let’s send a very strong message – no.”
The plan will be subject to a six-week public consultation during which Post Office will seek the views of customers and local stakeholders. Mr Zeichner will be campaigning alongside union members, led by local CWU Branch Secretary Mark Toner, against these proposals.
Cllr Anna Smith says: “St Andrew’s Street Post Office is one of the city’s flagship Post Offices, seeing a large number of people during opening hours. Relocating the services to a WHSmith store puts access and the services themselves at risk. As Executive Councillor for Communities I am all too aware of the impact this will have on so many residents for whom the post office is a lifeline. We absolutely do not want to see important institutions get stripped away from our City and I fully support Daniel’s campaign.”
Post Office announced that up to 40 Post Offices will be relocated into WHSmith stores by 2019, with a further 33 to be taken over by WHSmith that are already sited on their premises but currently being operated by Post Office directly.