Stamp and Deliver! Post Office furore

WH Smith, Halifax.
WH Smith, Halifax.

The proposed closure of the busy Halifax Post Office has caused fury amongst residents and customers.

Post Office bosses want to shut the main town centre branch in Commercial Street and open up a new service within the WHSmith store in Market Street.

Subject to consultation, the Halifax Post Office would close in September 2016, as reported in the Courier last week.

But customer Abbey Rhodes, 22, a student from Halifax, said: “I’m annoyed that they are shutting it down. I have to come here a lot to pick up online shopping orders.

“I commute to university every other day from the train station here because I live by it and I don’t want the hassle of going through to WHSmith.”

Bob Miller, 68, and June Miller, 66, live in Sowerby Bridge.

Mrs Miller said: “It’s a real shame because it’s a lovely old building. We use it regularly on Fridays and some weekends, and its been there for as I long as I can remember it. I remember a time when places like these were everywhere. It’ll be a sad day when it does finally close.”

Mr Miller said: “I wish the council would do something more about it. But this Government are only interested in cutting services back, like post offices.”

A campaign to halt the closure has been started by the Halifax Labour party called the ‘Save Halifax Post Office’ .

It says in its petition: “We are opposed to the proposals by the Post Office to close Halifax Crown Post Office in Commercial Street and replace it with a franchised service provided by another retailer.

“We call upon the Post Office to withdraw their plans and retain the existing historic and valued service.”

Spokeswoman for the Post Office Mel Corfield said: “Halifax is one of a number of Crown Post Office branches that we are planning to move to WHSmith on a franchise basis.

“Crown branches, which are directly run by the Post Office, are a small percentage of our overall network – there are around 300 Crown branches in an overall network of 11,500 Post Offices.

“The rest of our network is already run on a franchise /agency basis.

“The reason we are looking to franchise some more of our Crown branches is because, in some locations, they will not be viable into the future.

“There are a number of factors in this, including property costs. We can’t look to the taxpayer to subsidise loss-making Crown branches and franchising can work effectively.

“The way that people do business with us has changed and is continuing to change, we have many more customers using our services via the web for example.But we are determined to keep our network at around its current size and we’re committed to staying on the UK’s high streets. What we have to do is take action to ensure that is possible into the future.”