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Stockton Post Office to move inside WH Smith shop
A TOWN centre post office is set to be relocated inside another shop – despite the plans being criticised by community leaders.
Stockton Post Office is one of 16 branches across the country due to be moved to WH Smith stores, the Post Office announced on Friday.
The Post Office claims the franchises will offer the same range of services, with longer opening hours, mostly over seven days a week.
But Stockton North MP Alex Cunningham claims the branch is being downgraded, with the High Street branch likely to relocate to the WH Smith store in the town’s Wellington Square.
He said: “I am hugely concerned that this process will result in an inferior post office for residents across the Stockton Borough.
“ As was feared, the favoured option will see the post office moved to a location that is not on the High Street and is less accessible than the current arrangements.”
Earlier this year, Stockton Borough Council backed a motion calling on the Post Office not to hire out or sell its crown branch in Stockton High Street.
The Communication Workers Union also criticised the plan, saying 20 people worked at the post office and even if their jobs were saved they would have worse pay and conditions in a retailer franchise.
However, Stockton South MP James Wharton pointed out that a consultation process would take place before any changes happened.
“I’m assured by the Post Office that any changes will not lead to a reduction in facilities may lead to longer opening hours.
“We will have to see what people think but we shouldn’t dismiss all options out of hand.”
The 16 branches are due to be franchised by April next year.
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