Post Office campaigners raise Lewes store concerns

Post Office campaigners held an accessibility protest at WHSmith in Lewes. Photo by Cammie Toloui
Post Office campaigners held an accessibility protest at WHSmith in Lewes. Photo by Cammie Toloui
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Campaigners opposing the closure of Lewes Crown Post Office held a flashmob in the town’s WHSmith this weekend to protest against franchise plans.

Protesters said the event aimed to highlight accessibility issues at the store, which has been put forward as the Post Office’s preferred location for a new counter service.

Post Office campaigners held an accessibility protest at WHSmith in Lewes. Photo by Cammie Toloui

Post Office campaigners held an accessibility protest at WHSmith in Lewes. Photo by Cammie Toloui

Around 70 people – including both disabled and elderly residents – took part in the event in Cliffe High Street on Sunday (July 31).

In an open letter to Post Office Ltd, event organiser Cammie Toloui said: “This location is unacceptable for use as a post office. It is too inaccessible, small and cluttered for a county town of this size and the people of Lewes don’t want it.

“We understand that you are hell-bent on moving it from its current location for franchising in order to pay lower salaries and handing over the responsibility of this community service to WH Smith, and we recognise that you will probably do it no matter how many of us strongly oppose it. However, we do not understand how anyone could decide that this location is suitable and we ask that you reconsider.”

In response to the campaigners’ criticisms, a spokeswoman for Post Office Ltd said it was carefully considering the results of the consultation and said the changes were designed to ensure continued counter services in the town.

Post Office campaigners held an accessibility protest at WHSmith in Lewes. Photo by Cammie Toloui

Post Office campaigners held an accessibility protest at WHSmith in Lewes. Photo by Cammie Toloui

The spokeswoman added: “We’ve been working with WHSmith for ten years and they already successfully run around 100 Post Office branches. We always ensure, as part of relocation, that there is adequate access for our customers, including disabled customers, and we meet Post Office standards as well as applicable legislation.

“Post Office branches within WHSmith stores have their own dedicated refurbished area and we ensure that people are not obstructed in obtaining access – this is all part of our refurbishments before we move. We are still considering feedback from customers about Lewes but can assure them that access is a very important part of the proposal.”