A public consultation has been opened on the planned relocation of the Bath Crown Post Office branch on Northgate Street to the first floor of the WHSmith store on Union Street.
The Post Office are proposing to move the City of Bath Post Office into the WHSmith on Union Street, where it would be run by the retailer.
The proposed move is part of the continuing modernisation of their network, with the Post Office saying the viability of a branch in the centre of Bath will only be secured if a retail partner were to take over the running of the service.
In a letter to customers, Roger Gale, the Network & Sales Director of Post Office Limited, said: “We are confident that our proposal is the best way of safeguarding services for the community for years to come.
“The vast majority of our 11,500 Post Office branches, large and small, are successfully operated in this way with retail partners and we believe this is the best approach to keeping Post Offices in main shopping locations and at the heart of communities where they play an important role in local economies.”
If the proposed move goes ahead, Bath’s central Post Office will be run by WHSmith, with extended opening hours including Sundays.
The new branch would operate from a newly built open plan Post Office located on the first floor of the WHSmith store to the right hand side, which can be accessed by a customer lift, an up escalator or using the stairs.
Speaking about accessibility for customers using the WHSmith store, Mr Gale says: “There are two entrances into the proposed premises, one with a very slight incline that would have automatic doors installed and the other has steps at the entrance.
“The lift can carry up to 13 people and can accommodate pushchairs and wheelchairs. However if for any reason customers are unable to access the first floor, alternative arrangements to access Post Office services would be put in place from a designated till point at the ground floor retail counter as required.
“These arrangements would enable customer access to all of the services normally available upstairs except for a small number of high value services such as business banking and foreign currency.”
Directional signage will be provided from the entrance of WHSmith through to the new Post Office area on the first floor. It’s proposed there will be six serving positions, which has been based on current and forecast future business levels; four open plan positions and two traditional screened position which will also provide travel money services.
Additionally, there will be five self-service kiosks for mail transactions, including home shopping returns, E Top-Ups, and a range of bill payments.
The public consultation, which is running until 19th December, includes questions such as:
- Are the new premises easy to get into and are they easily accessible once inside?
- Are there any other local community issues which you believe could be affected by or affect the proposed move?
- If the move were to proceed is there anything the Post Office could do to make it easier for customers?
As the change of management of the branch to one that is operated by a retail partner, rather than by the Post Office directly, is a commercial decision, feedback is not being sought on this.
To take part in the consultation, visit the website here.