Plans to integrate a decades-old post office into a convenience store have not gone down well with villagers.
As part of a ‘modernisation and investment’ move, the Post Office have confirmed they will be moving Tattenhall Post Office from its current position on the village high street, into the Budgens store, also on High Street, at the end of October.
From then, the post office, which has been an integral part of the Tattenhall community for years, will operate from a new, smaller counter inside the store, which has raised some concerns amongst residents living in the area.
One resident, who did not wish to be named, told The Chronicle: “The post office is a lovely little shop we don’t want to see close. Many local businesses use it for deliveries and villagers for postal banking or pensions.
“Budgens is tiny and I personally don’t think there is enough space for a post office. There will be no privacy as people bank and pay bills, draw their pension and get their benefits. There will be poor access and security - it is just so impractical, regardless of making and saving the Post Office money.
“They think they will make money offering life insurance or mortgages but it is a small village with lots of elderly people who just go there for their pension, not for a mortgage. Plus, with the hundreds of new residents from the Redrow homes and the new care village, it is only going to get worse.”
"Elderly people rely on that post office"
Another said: “Budgens provide a good service, a varied stock and efficient staff. What they cannot provide is more floor space for the able bodied pedestrian, let alone somebody with reduced mobility. For the Post Office to move in and have space for all their goods and storage needs, Budgens will have to cut back something.”
In a letter to Tattenhall residents, Suzanne Richardson, Regional Network Manager for the Post Office confirmed the changes would be taking place in October.
She wrote: “I can confirm that we will be proceeding with our proposal to move the above Post Office branch to Budgens, High Street, Tattenhall, where it will operate as one of our new local style Post Office branches.
“We received a large number of responses and a petition from customers and local representatives during the local public consultation period. The main feedback expressed concern about the availability of space inside the proposed premises to house a Post Office
service, possible congestion and the impact this could have on customer manoeuvrability.
“Other comments related to access into the proposed store, customer privacy, parking and future local development plans. This feedback helped me to understand customers’ concerns and to make sure that all such information was taken into account before finalising our plans. In this instance, the move of the branch into Budgens store will enable us to secure Post Office services in Tattenhall in the future.”
Addressing other concerns that were raised by villagers, she added: “Our own experience is that, far from detracting from the Post Office service, a successful retail offer complements the Post Office business and helps to improve the long-term viability of both the Post Office and retail service. In view of the close proximity of the new branch, parking arrangements will remain the same as at present, with parking available directly outside the premises and further along the High Street.”
Eddisbury MP Antoinette Sandbach, who visited the village to collect a petition signed by residents objecting to the plans, said: “The Post Office is an integral part of the community in Tattenhall, valued by many and I will do my utmost to represent my constituents views”.
Thom Morton, who owns Budgens, said: “This is obviously not something that we wanted and it’s very disappointing that they are having to move. However the Post Office have done all their checks and there are no problems at all with our disabled access.”
The current Post Office will close at 5.30pm on Wednesday October 21 with the new branch opening at Budgens at 1pm on Thursday October 22.