Wisbech Post Office is to move from its current Bridge Street location to create a modern open-plan branch with extended opening hours for customers.
The new location at Etcetera, 7 York Row, is just 20 metres from its current site. The current branch will close at 5.30pm on Wednesday March 26, with the new branch opening at 9am on Thursday March 27.
The move is part of a major modernisation programme across the Post Office network designed to ensure Post Office branches are sustainable, profitable and no longer reliant on Government funding. The modernisation programme will make it easier for customers to do business, through longer opening hours and modern, open-plan environments.
Wisbech Post Office is currently one of 367 Crown branches directly owned by Post Office Ltd. The vast majority of Post Office branches - more than 10,000 - are successfully run by carefully selected third parties within their retail premises.
The Post Office’s priority is to ensure that it can provide the services that will meet customer needs, both now and into the future, and secure the long-term viability of the organisation and the network.
There will be no compulsory redundancies as a result of the move of Wisbech Post Office. Post Office Ltd is working closely with our people to ensure their needs are met whether that is a transfer to the new employer or redeployment in the Post Office. All staff have the legal right to transfer to the potential new operator if they wish under TUPE legislation.
Roger Gale, Crown Network General Manager, said: “We are committed to keeping a Post Office branch in Wisbech and to maintaining the same levels of service for our customers. We believe the best way for us to do this is to change the way we operate it, so following the move it will be run by Etcetera rather than by us directly.”
The new Wisbech Post Office would have four serving positions. These will be a mixture of two screened and two open-plan counters. The same wide range of Post Office services would be available, with the possible exception of an internal cash machine. This is subject to a survey by the Post Office’s cash machine provider, Bank of Ireland (UK) Plc, and relevant planning permissions.
Opening hours at the new location will be 9am to 5.30pm Monday to Saturday. This means customers will benefit from five extra hours of service every Saturday.
Etcetera is a family-run business and company that was started in 1981, operating a kitchenware and homeware store and cafe in Wisbech. They regard the Post Office as a vital part of the community’s services.
They have demonstrated that they will be able to successfully run the branch in Wisbech, delivering excellent standards of customer service, with trained staff promoting products and services in a modern environment, over extended opening hours.
Recent Post Office research shows that customer satisfaction levels are just as high for customers visiting franchise branches as those who access Post Office services via the Crown network.
The move comes after a six-week public consultation, during which Post Office Ltd also hosted a public customer forum to discuss the proposals. The Post Office has carefully considered the feedback gathered during this time, and is confident that the new branch will be suitably located and that Etcetera will meet customer needs and deliver an excellent service.