Drop in afternoon for people to share thoughts and find out more on proposed Post Office move from Sailmakers to WHSmith in Ipswich

WH Smith in Ipswich, which could get a Post Office

WH Smith in Ipswich, which could get a Post Office - Credit: Archant

A drop-in afternoon has been organised for people to find out more about controversial plans to move the Sailmakers Post Office into WHSmith.

The Post Office in Sailmakers Shopping Centre

The Post Office in Sailmakers Shopping Centre - Credit: Archant

The Post Office last month launched a consultation on the plans, which would move the town’s main Post Office onto the first floor of WHSmith in Westgate Street.

But within days of the announcement, the prospect came under fire by customers who were worried about access for older customers and those with mobility issues, convenience to other services such as buses and whether the level of service would be reduced.

Now, as the consultation period continues, the Post Office will hold a drop-in session between 3.30pm and 6.30pm on Wednesday, November 9, at the council chamber in the Town Hall. The afternoon aims to inform people of what the move would entail and encourage feedback or comments.

Roger Gale, general manager of the Post Office Crown Network, said: “We are committed to keeping our services on high streets which we know is hugely important to people.

“We need to make changes so that we can continue to do that into the future.

“The way customers do business with us has changed – people want flexible and convenient choices of how they access our services, whether that is face to face at our branches or on the web. We are adapting to that and making sure we take the right course of action to sustain services for years to come.”

Under the plans, the number of counters would be reduced from five to four, and would be situated on the first floor – meaning those with wheelchairs, walking frames, pushchairs and mobility issues would need to use the lift in the WHSmith store.

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But readers have questioned how the narrow aisles in the stationery and magazine retailer would provide good enough access for people.

Ipswich Borough Council’s executive is set to discuss the matter this evening, with the council likely to oppose the plans over accessibility and space concerns.

In a letter set to be approved, the council outlined its position, and said: “We feel this would be a retrograde step to not have a dedicated and identifiable Post Office in the heart of the town centre.

“Whilst this does not mean it has to remain within Sailmakers, the council does not consider upstairs in WHSmith is appropriate.”

The consultation runs until November 16, and if plans are approved, would be set to move in March.

To comment on the proposals email comments@postoffice.co.uk or call 03457 223344.