Grantham Post Office to close in new year
Grantham's main post office is set to close next year and services switched to WH Smith on the High Street.
The Post Office have revealed plans to switch services from the busy St Peter's Hill post office to the WH Smith branch, at 49-51 High Street, in Spring 2019, to ensure services remain sustainable in the future.
A statement from Post Office said: "The number of Post Office branches within WHSmith stores will be extended under a new agreement.
WHSmith currently runs 135 Post Offices within their high street stores throughout the country. Under the new agreement up to a further 40 are planned to be relocated into stores in 2019, supporting the long-term sustainability of Post Office branches and bringing longer opening hours for customers in many areas.
In addition, WHSmith will move to a franchise arrangement, of 33 Post Offices already sited in stores but currently operated directly by the Post Office. The total number of Post Offices operated by WHSmith in their stores is therefore planned to rise overall to over 200.
Post Office network and sales director Roger Gale said: “WHSmith and Post Office have worked together successfully for more than a decade and our collaboration helps to secure our services on high streets for years to come.
“We’re continuing to respond to unprecedented change on high streets and in consumer trends. By adapting to the needs of customers we’re making sure Post Offices will matter as much tomorrow as they do today, with services available when and where people want them, in convenient locations and open for longer hours, including Sundays.
“We’ve made significant changes in our network of 11,500 Post Offices over the past few years, modernising more than 7,500 branches and increasing opening hours for customers by more than 200,000 a week. We’ve also developed our services, including the introduction of everyday banking for customers of the UK’s high street banks.
“The vast majority of the Post Office’s network of 11,500 Post Office branches, large and small, are run on a franchise or agency basis with retailers as part of thriving businesses. It makes sense to further expand this successful, sustainable way of providing Post Office services to customers.”
Network and sales director, Roger Gale, has written an open letter to reassure customers in Grantham.
Dear customers of Grantham Post Office
We recently announced some changes we are proposing to make to your Post Office.
We are proposing to move Post Office services into WHSmith, 49 - 51 High Street, Grantham, NG31 6NE. We know how much our customers rely on their local Post Office and understand the concerns they may have about these changes.
I would like to reassure all our customers in Grantham that they will still be able to pick up their pensions, buy stamps, collect and return home shopping or access their usual high street bank account, in just the same way as they do at present.
Indeed, there will be no changes to any of the services available over the counter at the Grantham branch.
Additionally, the branch will be open longer, including on Sundays, making it more convenient for customers.
The Post Office is not immune to the pressures facing all retailers. We must respond to the unprecedented change taking place on high streets and adapt to changing customer needs. A key element of this is providing greater convenience, by making sure that our services are available when and where people want them. This means easily accessible locations, with longer opening hours. In Grantham, we propose to do this by opening on Sundays, which means customers can visit the Post Office seven days a week.
We are not making these changes lightly – but we need to make them if we are to ensure that branches like Grantham remain at the heart of towns and cities, not just in the short term, but for the long term too.
Regular visitors to the branch will no doubt know the branch team as friends and want to know they are being supported through these changes. We care about our people and we are keeping the team fully informed and discussing their options with them.
We’d really welcome the opportunity to explain why changes need to be made; to highlight the stringent standards we have in place to ensure good access for all customers in our new branches; and to listen to your comments too. The public consultation on the proposals will start in the new year, and we’d encourage our customers to get involved – more information will be available in the branch in due course.
However, the element of our plans that we not seeking feedback is the principle of franchising a branch.
This is because the change of management at Grantham Post Office to one that is operated by a retail partner rather than Post Office directly is a commercial decision, and we believe it is the right one in order to sustain Post Office services in communities - not just today, but for the long term too.