Sir – Like many of your readers, I am very disappointed that the Post Office doesn't seem to have listened to the many voices of caution over their attempts to shoe-horn Witney’s post office into WH Smith in the Woolgate Centre.
It is like squeezing a rugby team into a phone box – not a good fit, which will lead to tears.
I am meeting WH Smith and Post Office managers on Monday. I want to make sure services are improved, not just crammed in.
The move has the following major flaws:
- WH Smith is already cramped, limiting access for those in wheelchairs or with buggies or mobility scooters
- The new post office may be inaccessible for many Witney people. Existing cramped conditions will limit the services available.
- The queueing will be much worse, combining the awful post office queues with the terrible WH Smith ones will mean huge frustration.
- Concerns about the level of training and conditions of staff remain.
It is only fair to acknowledge that there are also some benefits in the plan: opening hours are better and include Saturday afternoons and Sundays; new desks will allow better access to services (if you can navigate the obstacles before you reach the desk) including wheelchair-accessible counters; and investment in new open service areas might improve and expand services.
If the Post Office had to find a partner to free up resources to modernise its service in Witney, it is a pity they couldn’t find another shop, where there is more space.
More than 2,000 signed the petition asking for improvements, not for the status quo.
Leaving the current post office as it is currently won't meet our needs either.
We deserve better in Witney. I will continue to argue for improvements.
Duncan Enright, Labour councillor, Witney East ward, West Oxfordshire District Council