The Post Office has revealed plans to create a new branch in Lancing, run by a convenience store, and close its current North Road Crown office premises.
The proposal would see the branch move approximately 75m down the street to Garret’s Convenience Store, also on North Road.
A six-week public consultation into the change opened on Tuesday and residents are invited to share their comments.
Roger Gale, Post Office sales and trade marketing director, said the change would ensure the branch is ‘commercially viable into the future’.
“The Post Office is committed to keeping our services on high streets, which we know is hugely important to people,” he said.
“We are making sure we take the right action to sustain services for years to come.”
Opening hours at the new branch, described as ‘modern and open-plan’, would be extended to include Saturday afternoons.
An automatic entrance door would be installed and the shop layout altered to provide wide aisles and low-level counters to cater for wheelchair users.
The new branch proposes to have four serving positions and offer the same services as the current branch, with the exception of the Biometric Enrolment Service for the Home Office.
The consultation closes on Tuesday, June 27.
The proposed move would take place in October 2017.
There are still no plans for the Shoreham Crown Office, which the Post Office are also looking to franchise.
Tim Loughton, MP for East Worthing and Shoreham, led a debate on the Post Office closures in the House of Commons on Tuesday morning.
After the debate, he said that while there were some advantages to the proposals: “I am still very concerned that the premises is not nearly big enough, which can only lead to longer queues, longer waiting times and a diminished service.”
He feared what would happen if the contract with the ‘relatively new independent store’ turned out to be unsustainable and unable to continue.
“I am also very concerned about the prospect of existing staff given that in other recent Post Office transfers only 10 out of 400 direct Post Office employees have transferred to the new business,” he said.
The Post Office was ‘missing an opportunity to expand its services’ at ‘a time when conventional banks are deserting the high street’, he said.
Councillor Lee Cowen, who has led community rallies opposing the changes and started an online petition, said he never imagined ‘such a pokey little shop’ would be selected.
He said customers were already ‘spilling out of the door and onto the pavement’ at the current North Road building.
“I don’t think the plans are good enough. I don’t think it’s acceptable,” he said.
“We’re just not going to get the same service.”
He resolved to continue the campaign to retain the current building.
To take part in the consultation, visit postofficeviews.co.uk
You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 03457 22 33 44
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