Cllr Denis Healy has handed over a petition to MP Graham Stuart as he looks to put pressure on the government to overturn a decision by the Post Office to relocate services to the nearby WH Smith store.
Cllr Healy and his team have collected over 2,500 signatures since November from residents. The Cllr says people in the town are outraged by proposals put forward by the Post Office.
Under the proposals from the Post Office, the Crown branch in Beverley will close. Services will then be moved to WH Smith on Toll Gavel in June 2019.
Speaking to HU17.net Cllr Healy said;
“People are quite outraged about what is happening with the principle of the franchise being given to WH Smith. WH Smith is an ailing a retailer not committed to the high street. It is only committed to its travel business and not the high street. It is like selling off the family silver.”
However, the Post Office says that the relocation to WH Smith in Beverley will be a smooth one.
They have also committed to undertaking work to improve the layout of the store, offer the same level of service while also extending opening times.
Cllr Healy says that everything which is being proposed could have been done at the current location, he said;
“All the things they want to do could have been done here in the Crown Post Office on Register Square. In fact, all of this investment is what the post office here has been requesting for two years and has been denied that investment.”
Petition Opposing Post Office Relocation Aims To Force Government Ministers To Listen
“They wanted to process driving licences here, they wanted wider kiosks here. That investment was withheld because post office management knew of their intention to close this post office and put it in WH Smith.”
Post Officer bosses are making the changes as they look to ensure the future of the service. They are also trying to reduce the burden on the taxpayer.
Between April 2015 and April 2018 taxpayers had to stump up £370M in subsidiaries to prop up UK post offices. While since 2010 the Post Office has cost taxpayers a staggering £2bn.
Cllr Healy, however, feels that Beverley is an exception to this rule and should be treated as such. His petition would also suggest the people in the town support his views, he said;
“Beverley is not a post office that needs propping up. While this programme is happening nationally with the WH Smith Franchise, we believe the Beverley Post Office, in particular, is an exception to that as it is profitable and is widely used. We think the alternative premises are not appropriate.”
“Whilst this is happening nationally we are making a case that Beverley should be an exception and we are hoping that Mr Stuart can make this case to ministers. He’s certainly on board with this whole campaign.”