09:30AM, Friday 03 June 2016
The effects of closing of Maidenhead Post Office could be felt well beyond the High Street, a spokesman for the Communication Workers Union (CWU) has warned.
Chris Roche, southern territorial representative for the union, was speaking at a public meeting to discuss the future of the town centre post office on Wednesday.
The event, which was organised by the Maidenhead Liberal Democrats, was held at the High Street Methodist Church and saw about 20 people turn out to find out more about the plans to transfer services to WHSmith in the Nicholsons Centre.
“The post office has a far greater value than just taking your post and giving you your pension,” he said.
“It also has a social aspect that cannot be replicated in a WHSmith and this is of very great concern to any community.
“You may not think so, but the Crown has a very significant effect on business in a town in general.
“Not just on where it stands in the high street, but also in the town as a whole.
“People do come to a town to use the post office and when that lost footfall goes down, then all businesses, not just the ones near the Crown branch, start to lose out.”
Mr Roche has also previously warned of the potential impact on service quality a closure could have.
Plans for the High Street branch are in the middle of a six-week public consultation
The proposals would see the current Crown Post Office in the High Street shut, with a new branch opening about 200 metres away in the existing WHSmith store in the Nicholsons Centre.
The announcement on May 10 followed the decision in January to list Maidenhead Post Office among 42 other directly-run Crown post offices whose future was put up for consultation.
The union rep added he was surprised the town’s office was being considered at all.
He said: “It seems to me that is you want a post office that has the potential for growth, then Maidenhead is the type of town where you would expect to see that kind of growth.
“But it seems to me that we currently have a Post Office that has just a short term view and just wants to close and franchise any post office not seen to be making money.”
A drop-in customer forum, labelled ‘a sop’ by Mr Roche, is to be hosted by the Post Office on Monday, June 13, at the High Street Methodist Church from 3-6.30pm.
Click here to find out how to have your say in the consultation.