News Posted in Community, News.

Last post as town branch closes in High Street

LOCAL historian Cliff Mewett visited the  Post Office as it left its traditional site in Bognor Regis.

 

Cliff was among the final visitors to the High Street branch before the shutters were pulled down forever at 5.30pm on Wednesday. The branch’s counters closed after just over 90 years of selling stamps and accepting letters and parcels.

 

The service re-opened at 9am yesterday at its new location about 220m away in WH Smith in London Road.

 

But Cliff, who wrote a book earlier this year about the town’s postal history, said he could not let the occasion pass without being in the High Street premises as it was about to close.

 

Cliff, pictured above right, said: “It’s a great shame this branch is closing – it was purpose built – but it is a sign of the times.

 

“They have lost a lot of business in recent years with things like road tax taken away.”

 

His co-author, Tom Gillespie, made sure he was served at the Post Office’s counters as the final minutes neared.

 

“People have shot themselves in the foot,” he said. “If they keep going online to buy things, they will lose this sort of service. As long as there’s a Post Office in Bognor, I’m OK with the move.”

 

The High Street building opened on February 1, 1926, at a cost of more than £20,000. Lord Leconfield did the honours after a short parade by the Bognor Town Band.

 

The Post Office was created to handle 170,000 letters a week in winter and 208,000 in summer. Also included was the town’s telephone exchange and more than 40 employees worked there.

 

When the move was confirmed last month, Roger Gale, the general manager for the Post Office’s crown branch network, said it would help to ensure the branch survived.

 

“Our customers’ needs continue to change and we are responding to that, taking the right action to sustain our services for years to come,” he said. “We are committed to remaining on high streets and at the heart of communities.”

 

The new branch provides the same services as the previous one, apart from a cash machine, but with seven more hours from 9am-5.30pm six days a week and 10am-4pm Sundays.

 

The final plans came after a six week public consultation.

 

A Post Office area has been created in  the WH Smith store at its rear entrance to Bedford Street. Automatic doors have been installed at the main entrance.

 

The branch includes four low level counters, PIN pads, hearing loops and customer seating.

 

Bognor and the GPO is available, priced £7.50, from 01243 867273 and 01243 826478.

Posted in Community, News.