Wigan's central Post Office closure approved
Wigan's central Post Office will close next month and move its services to WHSmith following a period of public consultation.
The town centre branch of the Post Office, housed in a 134-year-old building on Wallgate, will close for good at 5.30pm on Wednesday June 5, re-opening the following day inside WHSmith in Standishgate.
Related: Fury at plan to shut Wigan's central Post OfficeThe decision comes following a period of local public consultation, and in spite of heavy campaigning against the proposals by union members and Lisa Nandy MP, who said the plans were an example of companies caring more about increasing their footfall rather than providing a public service.
Ms Nandy said: "The Post Office have ignored the vocal objections of thousands of Wigan residents and announced they are closing our Crown Post Office. The Post Office Ltd. is an unaccountable organisation that has run down one of our most vital public services for years, creamed off profits and treated its own staff disgracefully. It is no surprise that their consultation was a complete sham.
"Dozens of MPs crowded into the Parliamentary Debate I led back in January asking Ministers to intervene. They have ignored us and the 100,000 people who signed our national petition and allowed one of the most precious assets to be stripped from our town. A Crown Post Office has stood on that site for 134 years. It has survived two world wars and a global financial crash, but it cannot survive a Tory Government.
"The Government and the Post Office should be ashamed of themselves. I will work with the Communication Workers Union to support the longstanding and loyal staff who now face redundancy or cuts to their pay and conditions, and I have written to WHSmith regarding this and the level of service they propose to offer.
"Similar exercises have led to the loss of experienced staff and fewer services on offer. Residents have voiced concerns about the accessibility at WH Smith and are understandably worried by reports that the retailer is struggling. This is a serious blow for our high street and for the thousands of local people who rely on their Crown Post Office."
Despite the backlash, the Post Office's Network and Sales director Roger Gale, Network said that the change would help to ensure the branch is commercially viable into the future and therefore protect Post Office services on which customers in the area depend.
He said: “The Post Office is committed to keeping our services at the heart of communities which we know is hugely important to people. This change means we can continue to do that, into the future. We are making sure we take the right action to sustain services for years to come.”
The new branch will be operated by WHSmith Ltd, who have successfully operated Post Office branches for a number of years.
There will be four serving positions and two self-service kiosks. Services will be available, seven days a week, from 9am to 5:30pm; Monday – Saturday and 11am to 3pm on Sundays, amounting to 55 hours of Post Office service a week.
The same, wide range of products and services will be available, with the exception of a cash machine – although all Post Offices branches now offer customers access to their usual high street bank account.
This means customers in Wigan will be able to deposit and withdraw cash, as well as check their balance, over the counter at the branch, during all the extended opening hours.