Two long term Southwater businesses have come together to help the village post office stay open.
Manager of Londis in Ramesh Shingadia, 56, and sub postmaster David Lawrence are working on proposals to move the post office into the shop 500 metres from Lintot Square to the Londis in Worthing Road. There is agreement in place for customers to park in the Cock Inn car park.
Subject to a public consultation running until January 18 and to Post Office Ltd’s subsequent decision, the opening hours at the proposed new location would be 7am to 10pm on weekdays; 8am to 10pm at weekends.
Mr Shingadia said: “We have known David in the post office for some time and he runs a super operation. When we were informed on the relocation, we thought it would be a great opportunity to build on the business and service that David has provided to Southwater.
“David and I will be working together to ensure that we maintain the continuity of service. The consultation is just the start of the due process and we still have a number of hurdles to cross with the Post Office Ltd before we are fully endorsed.
“We are looking to extend and modernise the store early in the New Year and will be an ideal opportunity to house the new post office within the store.”
Mr Lawrence added: “We want to assure customers that my shop currently selling sweets, toys and stationary, will remain trading after the transfer, with added services and extended product choices.”
A handout is available from the post office explaining the plans in more detail.
The move is part of major modernisation programme across the Post Office network designed to make it easier for customers to do business, through longer opening hours and modern open plan environments.
Post Office Regional Network Manager for South and East England, Mark Lawrence, said: “We understand how important having a Post Office is to residents in Southwater and we are confident that the new branch will meet the needs of the local community and secure services for the future.
He added: “The proposed changes to the branch are part of a three-year investment programme, the largest in the history of the Post Office, that will see Post Office Ltd is registered in England and Wales. Registered No 2154540. Registered Office 148 Old Street, London EC1V 9HQ. Post Office and the Post Office logo are registered trade marks of Post Office Limited around 6,000 branches (about half the Post Office network) converting to new-style branches. The investment marks a commitment to no more branch closure programmes.”
The new Southwater Post Office would have a mixture of open plan and traditional screened counter positions with Post Office products and services available alongside retail transactions during shop opening hours.
Opening hours at the proposed new location would be 7am to 10pm Monday to Friday; 8am to 10pm Saturday and Sunday. This will offer customers an extra 57 hours a week to access Post Office products and services, including Saturday afternoon all day Sunday morning. Every day the Post Office will also be open earlier and close later than currently.
The Post Office, now independent of Royal Mail, is the largest retail network in the UK, with over 11,500 branches. It is also one of the fastest growing financial services companies and is developing its online and telephony services.
During the public consultation Post Office Ltd welcomes feedback on any issues customers would like considered before a final decision is taken on this proposal.
The consultation will close on 18 January 2013. Submissions can be made during the consultation by Freepost YOUR COMMENTS to Post Office Ltd, via email to email@example.com, via the Customer Helpline: 08457 22 33 44 or Textphone 08457 22 33 55.