Rotherham town centre post office faces closure

A post office in Rotherham town centre faces closure, it has emerged today.

Tuesday, 10th January 2017, 11:45 am
Updated Tuesday, 10th January 2017, 11:51 am
A Rotherham post office is to close
A Rotherham post office is to close

Staff at the Bridgegate post office learned today that the branch is on a list of 37 at risk of closure, which could cost jobs nationally.

The Post Office is closing branches and instead operating franchises with 'partners' such as newsagents and convenience stores.

It said it would be seeking partners in the areas affected by the latest round of branch closures if they all go ahead.

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Roger Gale, the Post Office's sales and trade marketing director, said: “We’re committed to maintaining the Post Office’s special place on the high street and the changes we are making underpin our continued commitment to give communities in every part of the country access to essential services.

“The Post Office’s network of more than 11,600 branches is easily the largest in the UK, with 17 million customer visits a week. The vast majority of these branches are run with partners, and in the locations announced today we believe this will also be a more sustainable approach for the long term.

"With consumer habits changing, and the high cost of maintaining premises in prime high street locations, franchising helps us to keep services where our customers want and need them.

“We will take time to identify the right partners over the coming months and all proposals will be subject to local consultation.

“Post Office has a strong record of supporting people through change and we will be keeping affected staff fully informed as we develop our plans.”

General secretary Dave Ward, of The Communication Workers Union, said: "The latest round of closures is further evidence that the Post Office is in crisis and that the board of the company, backed by the Government, is simply pursuing a strategy of slash and burn.

"Today's announcement comes less than three weeks after the closure of a major government consultation on the future of the Post Office and sticks two fingers up to everyone who took part in this.

"75,000 postcards were returned to the Government signed by members of the public calling for an end to the closure and franchise programme - the Post Office and the Government have completely ignored their views."

Unite officer Brian Scott said: "This is another nail in the coffin of the Post Office and a move to online will make the Crown Office network superfluous to requirements. Customers, who want to take up the services that the Post Office is offering, will have to do it online or on the phone.

"This lack of the personal touch goes against the public purpose and ethos of the Post Office. It also paves the way for further franchising of the rapidly diminishing number of Crown Post Offices, which currently number about 300.

"This will make it more difficult for the ordinary consumer, many of them who are elderly, to access quality services."