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‘It’s ridiculous’ - Why are one town’s shops and banks still closing early?

PUBLISHED: 16:50 02 October 2020 | UPDATED: 17:13 02 October 2020

The re-opening of some shops in North Walsham following lockdown saw shoppers return to the town centre. Although a  large number of non-essential shops remained closed. Picture: Casey Cooper-Fiske

The re-opening of some shops in North Walsham following lockdown saw shoppers return to the town centre. Although a large number of non-essential shops remained closed. Picture: Casey Cooper-Fiske

Casey Cooper-Fiske

While most high street businesses have returned to their normal opening times following limited lockdown hours or full closure, some amenities are still operating on reduced hours in one Norfolk town.

The Royal Mail sorting office and Lloyds bank are still operating on reduced hours. Photo: Casey Cooper-FiskeThe Royal Mail sorting office and Lloyds bank are still operating on reduced hours. Photo: Casey Cooper-Fiske

North Walsham’s Lloyds Bank and Royal Mail sorting office are still only opening for a limited amount of time, with the bank opening at 10am and closing at 2pm and the sorting office opening for just two hours during the week between 7am and 9am.

Shoppers in the town centre said the reduced hours were frustrating with many unable to collect parcels or visit the bank due to work and other commitments.

One man who did not wish to be named said: “It’s ridiculous with the sorting office. Who can collect parcels between 7am and 9am, people are either at work or on their way there.

“Everyone else is back working normal hours - why aren’t they?”

The Royal Mail sorting office and Lloyds bank are still operating on reduced hours. Photo: Casey Cooper-FiskeThe Royal Mail sorting office and Lloyds bank are still operating on reduced hours. Photo: Casey Cooper-Fiske

Another woman added: “I went to the bank at 2pm yesterday afternoon and they were closing up. They told me it was because there’s no one about in the afternoons so there’s no point opening. So I said to them ‘well I’m here so obviously some people are going in the afternoon’.”

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A Lloyds spokesman said the bank’s opening hours depended on customer demand, with visits to the bank down by a third in comparison to pre-Covid levels.

She said: “Whilst pre-pandemic we already had variations in opening hours, we are now tailoring our opening hours branch by branch, based on close monitoring of customer demand and transaction levels.

The Royal Mail sorting office and Lloyds bank are still operating on reduced hours. Photo: Casey Cooper-FiskeThe Royal Mail sorting office and Lloyds bank are still operating on reduced hours. Photo: Casey Cooper-Fiske

“Hundreds of our branches are now open all day where the customer demand requires it.

“During the time when our branches are closed, colleagues are busy helping customers in other ways, including over the phone, mobile messaging, processing applications, and bereavement support.

“This flexible approach is aligned to our customers’ needs and means we can help even more customers in a manner that suits them best.”

Staff at Royal Mail’s North Walsham sorting office said the revised hours were down to personnel shortages, however they added that opening times were getting longer with the office now open until 12pm on Saturdays.

The Royal Mail sorting office and Lloyds bank are still operating on reduced hours. Photo: Casey Cooper-FiskeThe Royal Mail sorting office and Lloyds bank are still operating on reduced hours. Photo: Casey Cooper-Fiske

Royal Mail’s head office has been contacted for comment.


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