Post Office under fire over delayed branch opening

Gosport High Street
Gosport High Street
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PEOPLE hoping for a new post office in Gosport are angry over opening delays.

A new branch in High Street was announced by the Post Office and promised for the end of October.

Now nearly a month after the scheduled opening day, people still have to use a branch branded unacceptable by town leaders.

A Post Office spokeswoman said the delay was because of the postmaster focusing first on opening another branch.

Lin Wilson, from Gosport’s Town Team, said the delay was a blow for businesses at the bottom of the high street.

She said: ‘It’s really a bit of a kick in the teeth. It’s a big disappointment. Once people knew where it was going they were getting very excited.

‘I know from talking to residents they thought this was a big thing.

‘It’s a big blow for Gosport when you don’t have a proper post office.’

The Town Team was set up to boost the high street and fill empty shops.

As previously reported in The News, Gosport’s MP Caroline Dinenage and borough council leader Mark Hook slammed the existing branch.

In August it was announced the branch would be closed on October 28 and the new newsagent and post office would open at the former Internacionale shop with extended opening hours – including opening on a Sunday.

Post Office has refused to give exact details why the opening was delayed.

In a statement a spokeswoman said: ‘The new postmaster recently opened another refurbished branch and is now focusing attention on opening Gosport.

‘All aspects of the plan have to be in place before work begins.’

Cllr Hook said it was frustrating not to have the branch open on time.

He said: ‘It’s more frustrating than anything else.

‘We were hoping to have this, certainly by now, and for Christmas it would have been nice to have another shop open on the High Street.

‘It’s a WH Smith, which brings added value to the High Street.’

Cllr Hook added he understood such business projects can have delays.

Previous talks to move the post office into the town hall were cut short.

And plans to move the branch into Gosport Discovery Centre were cancelled.

That happened when Hampshire County Council said it could not subsidise it.