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Public meeting to be held on plans for town's main post office
2:03pm Monday 9th September 2013 in News
CAMPAIGNERS fighting the "closure" of Chester-le-Street’s main post office say the move would be a big blow.
Post Office Ltd is looking to change the service by getting a retailer to run it as a franchise, probably from other premises, rather than have a directly-controlled Crown Post Office.
But the Communication Workers Union (CWU), which is concerned for the futures of 11 employees, fears a worse service.
It is holding a public meeting on Friday (September 13) at 2pm in the Parish Centre, Church Chare, to explain its concerns about the proposals. Post Office Ltd is looking to franchise 76 Crown Post Offices across the country.
David Bowmaker, CWU Territorial Representative, said the branch was “an essential part of the local economy” that many residents and businesses relied on.
The staff in were well-trained and had over 185 years of experience between them, which could be lost under the franchise plans.
Mr Bowmaker said: “Chester-le-Street, like so many towns, is struggling in the current climate and if this Post Office was to close it would be a major blow to the local economy and to the services which many people rely on.
“There are hundreds of people who come to this office every day and we just don’t think the same service could be matched by a few windows in the back of another shop.
“This is a dedicated office with good access arrangements in a prominent town centre position.”
The meeting was a chance for residents to say what they thought of the plans, said Mr Bowmaker.
He said: “The Post Office management haven’t announced a company to take this office yet so we’re asking them to change their mind and save Chester-le-Street Crown office.”
A spokeswoman for Post Office Ltd said the company had received expressions of interest in the Chester-le-Street franchise and was assessing their suitability.
When a potential franchisee was selected it would hold a six-week public consultation.
She stressed that the company was committed to maintaining services in the town.
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