A representative of the Post Office Ltd has said it is their intention to franchise the Crown Post Office at Wisbech, even if the current proposed partnership with Etcetera doesn’t go ahead.
Speaking at a public consultation on Thursday at the Rose and Crown Hotel, senior stakeholder manager Gary Herbert said if the current proposal falls through and there is no suitable alternative, the Post Office will stay at its current Bridge Street location “for the time being”.
But he hinted the issue would not go away by saying: “It is our intention to franchise this at some point in the future once suitable premises have been found.”
Public consultation ends January 6 and Post Office Ltd will then consider the responses and make a decision. If the York Row Etcetera option is rejected, the services will remain where they are.
If the homeware shop is accepted as the new premises for the Post Office services, the proposed changes are expected before the end of the financial year with work starting February time to install counters and equipment. Mr Herbert said the alterations could take about three weeks and what is installed will be modern with the same services offered but longer opening hours.
The CWU - Communcations Workers’ Union - is hoping the public will back its campaign to keep the services where they are.
A spokesperson at the meeting said: “We hope the public will back our campaign and continue to support us. As soon as Etcetera pulls out, we can keep the Post Office where it is.”
Last week the union called on the public to boycott the shop and on Thursday members and supporters were handing out leaflets saying “Save Wisbech Crown Post Office boycott Etcetera”.
Supporters were also campaigning outside the shop and Ray Wicks, who runs with business with his wife Jan, said the police were called because they were concerned some customers felt ‘intimidated’ by their presence.
The police advised the supporters what they could and could not do.
Mr Wicks said since publicity about the boycott, customers had been supportive of their proposal, which Mr Wicks said he sees as saving the services for this part of the town rather than risk them going out of town.
“People have come in and said it is a brilliant idea and some people said they had come in purposely to show their support,” said Mr Wicks.
Campaigners who want to keep the post office where it is have amassed just over 3,000 signatures and copies of the petition have gone to Cambs County Council which the protesters hope the full council will endorse and forward on to central government.