THE Post Office has entered into talks about moving Gosport’s main branch into the nearby library.
The High Street branch has been neglected for years with large parts of it boarded up and being allowed to fall into disrepair.
Earlier this year Gosport Borough Council leader Mark Hook added his voice to that of town MP Caroline Dinenage and the ward’s Labour councillors, calling for something to be done.
Now, the firm is looking at moving the branch into the Gosport Discovery Centre.
Cllr Hook said: ‘I’m pleased that the Post Office has finally reacted.
‘The staff and the public deserve far better conditions.
‘The Post Office wants to have discussions about moving into the Discovery Centre.
‘We have been kicking at them for so long to sort this out.
‘It was pressure from myself and our MP that has got them to the table.
‘There will need to be a lot of discussions but this is an exciting prospect where the public and the private sector will be working together. I’ve heard about post offices being set up in the backs of shops and pubs before but never in a library.’
Hampshire County Council runs the Discovery Centre as part of its library service.
Councillor Keith Chapman, who is in charge of culture and recreation matters for the county council, said the plans were at the early stages and could also help boost visitor numbers to the library.
He added: ‘Discussions have been taking place with Post Office Counters Ltd about the possibility of operating a post office from the Discovery Centre.
‘This would see the library service not only take on responsibility for operating a post office, but also managing the staff and the quality of the service delivered.
‘People are using libraries differently these days and they are quickly becoming hubs for community activity.
‘They offer a range of additional services beyond simply lending books such as adult learning, free internet access and exhibitions.
‘The proposals represent an exciting new venture to increase the range of services we provide.’
A Post Office spokeswoman said: ‘We’re aware of the need to improve facilities for customers in Gosport.
‘We’re in discussions with interested parties to find an alternative location for the branch.’
She added: ‘Before any move could take place we would of course undertake a consultation to ensure that any new location meets the needs of people in the area.’