This week marks the end of an era as plans to close Wigan’s Crown Post Office come to fruition despite heavy opposition.
The town centre branch, housed in a 134-year-old building on Wallgate, closed for good at 5.30pm on Wednesday, June 5, reopening the following day inside WHSmith in Standishgate.
The decision came following a period of public consultation, and was met with uproar from Lisa Nandy MP, who had campaigned alongside union members against the plan.
Ms Nandy said the move was a prime example of companies caring more about increasing their footfall rather than providing a public service.
“The Post Office have ignored the vocal objections of thousands of Wigan residents and announced they are closing our Crown Post Office,” she said.
“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.”
She added: “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.
Services will be available from 9am to 5.30pm; Monday to Saturday and 11am to 3pm on Sundays.