Fury as Post Office confirms Fareham store to move into WHSmith

WH Smith in 'West Street, Fareham, which will be the new home of the town's post office
WH Smith in 'West Street, Fareham, which will be the new home of the town's post office
  • Post Office to move Fareham unit into top of WHSmith
  • Move follows seven-week consultation
  • Councillors and residents voice anger at announcement
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A CONTROVERSIAL decision to move a Post Office into a branch of WHSmith has been met with anger.

The Post Office has announced that it is to move the services at Fareham Post Office in West Street, Fareham into the first floor of WHSmith in the Savoy Buildings along the same street

It’s an absolute farce

Richard Ryan

The decision follows a seven-week public consultation last year which has now been branded a ‘farce’ by critics.

In a statement, the Post Office said that the new branch will continue to provide the existing services which consist of five serving positions and three self-service kiosks.

Fareham Borough Council wrote to the Post Office twice urging it not to carry out the move.

Councillor Sean Woodward, leader of the council, has labelled the move ‘a scandalous waste of public money’ as the Post Office would be paying rent on its new branch and old branch for the next six years as it does not own the lease on the former premises.

He said: ‘There have been protests about this move, but the Post Office is deciding to ignore them and move it anyway.

‘It is now going to pay for an empty building for five years, which is a scandalous waste of public money.’

The new unit will be open from 9am until 5.30pm from Monday to Saturday.

Richard Ryan, vice-chair of Fareham Labour Party said: ‘It’s an absolute farce. I’m worried about how this will affect those who are disabled as it’s a vital public service and they will undoubtedly be affected by this move. It was a pretty feeble consultation.’

Roger Gale, sales and trade marketing director at the Post Office said: ‘Our customers’ needs continue to change and we are responding to that, taking the right action to sustain our services.’

The current branch closes on March 15 with the new one opening the next day.