Plea to keep Post Office services running in South Shields over town centre closure fears
A question mark looms over the future of a South Tyneside's main Post Office - as customers and councillors plead for it to stay in the town centre.
The Gazette revealed yesterday that a planning application had been submitted for the Royal Mail delivery office in Keppel Street, South Shields, to be relocated to Rekendyke Industrial estate.
The move is to allow the building to be knocked down so a new transport interchange can be created as part of the town centre’s 365 regeneration plan.
The Post Office, which is attached to the delivery office also needs to be demolished, but bosses have been unable to confirm what their plans are for it.
A Post Office spokesman said: “We are aware of the planning application that has been submitted as part of the regeneration of the town.
“We would like to reassure customers that we are committed to maintaining access to post office services for the community and are assessing the impact of the redevelopment on service provision.”
Councillors and pensioners hope the service will remain in an easy accessible place.
Coun John Anglin, Labour representative for the Beacon and Bents ward, said: “The Post Office is a very important service. We’d love to see it stay within the town centre.”
Dot Golightly, who is secretary of the Chichester club, a pensioners’ friendship group - based at Saville Lodge, Saville Street, says many older people depend on the service.
Mrs Golightly said: “We’ve all been talking about the plans. Many of us older folk regularly go to the Post Office to pay our bills.
“I know I do, I don’t like those direct debits. On a Monday morning you see the queue of people, most of whom are pensioners, waiting for it to open so they can get their pensions.
“If they weren’t able to do that then I don’t know what they;d do.
“It’s ideal where it is now, because most of the buses drop you off right outside, so you don’t have very far to walk at all.
“If they move it somewhere else then I hope it’s still as easy to get to.”
The new delivery office development would have space for 32 vans, plus car parking spots.
There would be 48 spaces for staff, five for customers and three areas for disabled drivers.
The relocation would also safeguard 86 jobs.
Customer access is proposed from West Walpole Street, using the existing ramp and steps
Comments can be made on the plans until August 4 by searching for application number ‘ST/0656/16/FUL’ on www.southtyneside.gov.uk
The council’s planning committee will be making a decision at a future meeting.