Post Office confirms move of Ipswich branch from Sailmakers to WH Smith despite access fears

WH Smith in Ipswich, which could get a Post Office

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

Plans to move Ipswich’s main Post Office branch from the Sailmakers shopping centre into WH Smith in Westgate Street will go ahead, despite objections from members of the public.

The Post Office in Sailmakers Shopping Centre

The Post Office in Sailmakers Shopping Centre - Credit: Archant

Plans were first announced in October by the Post Office, and will be situated on the first floor.

But despite objections to the plans over the difficult access for those with mobility issues, the plans will continue to go ahead.

Post Office crown branch network general manager Roger Gale said that 21 individual representations were sent alongside a handful of comments at a public meeting, and that improvements would be made to address access concerns.

“We’ve reassured the people who raised concerns about the first floor location that the lift will be refurbished before we move, with better lighting, tactile markings and health and safety features including an auto dialler to contact the store in emergency situations,” he said.

“If customers are unable to access the first floor, alternative arrangements would be put in place from the ground floor retail counter as required. We already run other Post Office branches successfully from first floor locations.”

Local disability groups will be talked through layout plans to meet the needs of wheelchair users.

The revamped Post Office will have four counter positions and two self-service machines, and will finish at Sailmakers on March 8. The new office will then be open the next day.

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Mr Gale added: “We are committed to remaining on high streets and at the heart of communities and we are making changes right across our network to enable us to do so.

“Our customers’ needs continue to change and we are responding to that, taking the right action to sustain our services for years to come.”

No changes have been announced for the other town centre branches in Carr Street and Fore Street.