Controversial plans to close Keighley’s main post office and move facilities to the town’s WH Smith store have come under renewed fire.
John Grogan, who will fight Keighley for Labour at the next general election, said the relocation had nothing to do with users’ needs. And he has attacked the retail giant over its record running post office franchises.
“A year ago, an independent survey undertaken by Consumer Focus found that nearly one in five customers in post offices run by WH Smith had to wait more than ten minutes to be served,” he said. “The average wait was nearly 40 per cent longer than in a Crown post office.
“In recent months, the company has even closed two post offices it was responsible for – in Runcorn and at Grays, Essex.”
Mr Grogan added there would be insufficient space in Keighley’s WH Smith store – in the Airedale Shopping Centre – for a post office.
“The shop is already quite cramped – where exactly is the counter going to go?” he said.
“As the main concern is to increase footfall, often the counter is put at the back of the premises, causing access and mobility issues.
“If customers are going to be able to take part sensibly in the current consultation, WH Smith needs to produce all its detailed plans for Keighley now.”
Post Office Ltd says the new facility would include six serving positions and would be open every day.
Customers and other interested parties are being invited to give their comments, and a public forum will be held.
The consultation runs until February 3, and the move could take place in March or April.
Comments can be submitted via an online questionnaire at postofficeviews.co.uk, by FREEPOST Your Comments to Post Office, via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, a customer helpline on 08457 22344 or textphone 08457 223355, quoting code 010306.
WH Smith said that until a decision is confirmed, it would “not be appropriate” for the company to comment.