December 9 2013 Latest news:
Wednesday, September 18, 2013
A post office manager reassured concerned Norwich residents their opinions would be taken into consideration at a public meeting to discuss plans to move their branch to another location within the city.
Kevin Shepherd, network transformation area manager at the Post Office, told 100 residents packed into the Vauxhall Centre no decision would be made on whether to relocate the Vauxhall Street branch until after the public consultation had been completed on October 9.
He added: “We have told the candidates that they will be appointed subject to a public consultation.
“We have changed decisions based on the strength of public opinion.
“We explain to any candidate that is applying that we will not make a formal decision until after the consultation.”
Before the public consultation, the post office invited applications to run the Vauxhall Street branch after the current sub-postmaster decided he did not want to continue running the outlet in the Suffolk Square shopping parade.
Two shops applied, the Vauxhall Street Pharmacy, next door to the existing premises, and Hurn Chemist, on Unthank Road, which was selected pending the resignation of the current sub-postmaster.
However, the proposal caused concern among residents who feared elderly and less mobile Vauxhall Street customers would not be able to get to Unthank Road.
At the meeting, Mr Shepherd revealed the relocation was proposed as part of a restructuring of the post office network during which the number of post offices across the country had fallen from more than 22,000 to just over 11,000.
However, he provided reassurances the aim was not to close branches.
Residents raised a number of worries, particularly about the way the consultation had been conducted with a preferred candidate being selected in advance and the proposal then opened up to the consultation process.
Mr Shepherd said the preferred applicant was chosen on the basis of who the Post Office considered to be most suited, but the public view would also be considered.