THE Mayor of Havant has officially opened the town’s new Post Office.
For years the town’s main Post Office was a run down building at the back of a large empty shop next to Waitrose run only by a temporary team of agency staff.
But Baljit Mandair saw an opportunity to open one in a prime spot in West Street and yesterday his dream became a reality – much to the relief of customers.
It was opened by Councillor Marjorie Smallcorn who cut the red ribbon and commented: ‘It’s just such a joy to be opening a Post Office.
‘For years we’ve seen so many closing.
‘This is now in a much better position and I’m so delighted for all the residents who will get to use it.’
It has taken over the Ponden Home unit next to The Parchment Makers pub and is a joint venture with Kwiki Mart which is running the newsagents at the front of the shop under the name News Box.
Mr Mandair, who has 11 years experience of running Post Offices and has several in Southampton, said: ‘I’m really looking forward to this exciting new challenge.
‘People have compared me to a knight in shining armour who has come to the rescue of Havant Post Office.
‘The people of Havant deserve a decent Post Office and I will provide that.
‘The branch is light, bright and modern.
‘It is open plan counters will make it far easier for staff and customers to have conversations without the need to speak loudly.
‘Opening hours are longer too for the convenience of customers.’
The new Post Office will have longer opening hours – from 8.30am to 6pm.
It will also open on Saturdays.
Julia Marwood, the regional network manager for the south, said: ‘We understand how important the Post Office services are to the people of Havant and we are confident this new modern Post Office will meet the needs of the local community and secure services for the future.’
Neil Sodha is the owner of Kwiki Mart with shops across the area.
He lives in Bedhmapton and told Mr Mandair about the opportunity in Havant – their third venture together.
He said: ‘I live nearby and realised the potential here.
‘We’re not interested in selling alcohol, we want a tidy shop, just a tobacconist and newsagents. We’re pleased to be working together.’