Council criticises plans to move Post Office into WHSmith store
PLANS to move a Post Office branch on to the top floor of a WHSmith store have come in for criticism from a council.
The Post Office is consulting on proposals that would see its unit in Fareham’s West Street move into the shop in the Savoy Buildings on the same street.
According to the Post Office, the move is part of proposals to modernise its network and it claims the store would be an ‘excellent host location’ that would complement the services offered.
However, Fareham Borough Council has criticised the proposed move in a report in response to the consultation.
The report reads: ‘The council is of the opinion that proposals to locate the modernised Post Office on the first floor of the WHSmith store would be both an actual and perceived worsening of internal access arrangements for customers and therefore the local community.’
It also recommends putting the facilities on the ground floor of the shop, towards the rear of the store.
The council has also expressed its fears that the two post boxes and cashpoint located underneath the canopy by the existing Post Office outlet will be used by rough sleepers and street drinkers, who tend to congregate in the West Street area.
Councillor Trevor Cartwright, the executive member for public protection on the borough council, said: ‘Something needs to be done to stop those displaying anti-social behaviour from using that area and unit.
‘We can’t have a situation where people start living under that canopy.’
A public space protection order was given the go-ahead by the borough council earlier this month, which gives police officers and council officers the right to fine anti-social behaviour in the town centre.
The Post Office could not confirm the plans for the cashpoint and post boxes, but a spokeswoman said: ‘The new branch will be in a dedicated area on the first floor of WHSmith. This can be accessed by lifts or stairs.’
She added that a designated till point on the ground floor could be put in place to customers who are disabled or have mobility problems.
The consultation on the proposals is open until December 7. Go to postofficeviews.co.uk to comment.