The fight to keep York’s main post office in its Lendal home has failed.
The Post Office confirmed today that the whole thing would be moved into WH Smith on Coney Street.
It will finish in the purpose-built Lendal building at 5.30pm on Wednesday 3 April.
The new WH Smith branch will open the following day at 9am “and will see the Post Office incorporated alongside a retail offer of stationery, gifts and greetings cards”.
A statement issued today said:
Following a period of local public consultation and review, we have made the decision to proceed with the proposal to relocate York Post Office, (22 Lendal, York, YO1 8AQ) into WHSmith at 39-41 Coney Street, York, YO1 9QL, where it will be operated by WHSmith High Street Ltd and known as York Post Office.
The news will dismay the many campaigners – including York Central MP Rachael Maskell – who had fought to keep the separate Post Office.
A petition to save the York’s Crown Post Office online and on paper gained more than 3,000 signatures.
Rachael Maskell said today it was a ‘deplorable decision’: “This is not about York or services, but yet another example of a public body selling off part of our incredible city for a quick financial fix which the people of York will not see a direct benefit from.”
During the campaign I was very interested to hear Harold Wood’s work as part of the Home Guard team that protected Lendal Post Office in 1942 during the York Blitz.
As Harold said the Luftwaffe could not destroy the Post Office. It is extremely sad to see our publicly owned Post Office doing just that.
— DavidDunninguk (@daviddunninguk) February 13, 2019
Ms Maskell said people would now be worried “about the future of this magnificent building and it’s historically significant interior which includes an important war memorial.
“There is a lot of concern that it will join the ranks of other boarded up shops a long Coney Street or become yet another bar in our city centre.”
But the Post Office says the move offers advantages to customers, particularly longer opening hours.
The new branch will be operated by WHSmith Ltd, with five serving positions and four self-service kiosks.
Services will be available from 9am to 5.30pm Monday – Saturday and 11am to 3pm on Sundays.
A spokesperson said the same wide range of products and services will be available.
Customers will be able to deposit and withdraw cash to their high street bank account, as well as check their balance, over the counter at the branch, during all the extended opening hours.
Roger Gale, Post Office network and sales director, 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.
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.