Post Office Sheffield: ‘I used wilko’s post office twice a week - I cried when I found out it was closing’
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A woman who has lived in Sheffield for 40 years says she is watching “a deterioration in the city centre” - and the loss of the post office inside wilko is the final nail in the coffin.
Since wilko on Haymarket closed, there is only one post office remaining inside Sheffield’s inner ring road, and there are no plans by the firm to replace it with another main branch.
Carmelita Duncan, aged 63, who lives in Burngreave, says she used the post office on the first floor in wilko twice a week for its postal and banking services, and to top-up her neighbour’s gas and electric metres. She said she “cried” when she found out it was closing.
Ms Duncan said: “I went in on Friday only to be told the following Monday would be the last day. I knew it was going to shut but I thought they had located a building in the city centre.
“I couldn’t even say goodbye to the staff.”
The Post Office has launched a consultation which could see a ‘local’ branch opened in the city, but it added that the site on Charles Street, near the Moor, will be enough to meet demand alongside three others within 1.5 miles, on Shoreham Street, Ellesmere Road, and City Road.
Ms Duncan, who also regularly sends baked goods to family and friends, disputes this, claiming there have been queues seen coming out of the Charles Street branch. She said: “There is no way. The shop by the Moor is only a little place with three counters, and the others aren’t in convenient locations.
“To say that they can carry the volume of people [that the post office in wilko served] is because they’re pushing people away from a service they want, and people have to find alternatives.
“I don’t shop online, I want to go into stores and see and feel what I am buying and speak to people face-to-face. We have to talk to people more in person, not just through screens.”
In response, the Post Office has stated that the Charles Street branch has four counters - not three - and that they have not yet seen any evidence of queue outside the building.
It said: “We expected an increase in customers using Charles Street branch which is why we have worked closely with the independent Postmaster that operates the branch to ensure they have all the support they need from the Post Office.
“We can assure customers that we are in regular contact with the Postmaster and are monitoring the demand for our services at Charles Street. It already has four customer-facing terminals and will shortly receive additional self-service kiosks to help handle any increase in customer demand. There are now four staff members regularly serving customers and we have not seen any evidence of queues outside of this branch.”
The Post Office added they will be advertising an opportunity to operate a Local branch in the S3 area soon.
A consultation on a new Post Office Local, based in a shop in Sheffield city centre, runs until November 8. For more information, click here.