Council deal will move Gosport’s post office to library

MOVE Gosport Discovery Centre is set to be the new home of the town's post office
MOVE Gosport Discovery Centre is set to be the new home of the town's post office
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PLANS to move an eyesore post office into a nearby library have been given the go-ahead, The News understands.

Customers of Gosport’s post office have long complained of the state of the High Street building.

Now the Post Office and Hampshire County Council are finalising a deal which will see the office move into the nearby Discovery Centre, subject to a public consultation.

It is unclear what will happen to the staff who currently work at the post office.

Plans for a move to the Discovery Centre were mooted after the leader of Gosport Borough Council, Cllr Mark Hook, wrote a letter of complaint to the Post Office, calling the branch ‘an embarrassment’.

Cllr Hook said: ‘I’m delighted to see a conclusion to the Post Office and a facility that is better for the users and the staff.’

Despite calls from The News, neither Hampshire County Council nor the Post Office would comment on the exact details of the deal being struck.

But a source has told The News the Post Office franchise would be handed over to the council.

Alterations would need to be made inside the Discovery Centre to make everything fit.

Councillor Peter Chegwyn, the Lib Dem opposition spokesman for libraries, said: ‘I have heard it’s likely to go ahead.

‘It would be very good news and hopefully we can then get something done about the eyesore that is the current building.

‘I welcome the move and it would be good for customers and staff.

‘But we have to remember it is a library and that shouldn’t be forgotten. Books are important.’

The town’s MP, Caroline Dinenage, also raised the issue in Parliament during a debate about town centres.

County libraries boss, Cllr Keith Chapman, said: ‘Plans that could see a post office operating from Gosport Discovery Centre are progressing well.

‘The county council would very much like to offer a positive solution to local residents, and we are continuing our discussions with the Post Office to help provide people with an offer that meets their needs.

‘Before any move could take place, the Post Office would first wish to consult residents to ensure the proposals meet their expectations.’

A Post Office spokeswoman added: ‘We are in discussions with interested parties to find an alternative location for the branch.

‘However, before any move could take place we would of course undertake a consultation to ensure any new location meets the needs of people in the area.’

LONG HISTORY

COMPLAINTS over the state of Gosport’s Post Office have been raging for years.

Customers, councillors and MPs have been calling on the owners of the building to do something about the state of the office after half of it was boarded up.

Refurbishment of the inside of the building, in Gosport’s High Street, began around five years ago.

But people have been forced to queue in a cramped space since the works came to a grinding halt.