The closure of Uckfield’s stand alone Crown Post Office has come a step nearer with at least one retailer possibly in the frame to take over counter services in the town.
Uckfield county councillor Claire Dowling said she was pleased there was at least one potential commercial operator with an interest in the Uckfield Post Office.
She said: “I believe it’s vital to keep a post office presence in Uckfield and, ideally, in the High Street.” But she said it was important to stay abreast of the situation while, in the meantime, the move was at least an encouraging sign and telling the town a post office is commercially viable.
The Post Office says 200 expressions of interest have come in from people or firms covering all the towns affected by the closure of the Crown units. The scheme is dubbed a ‘business transformation programme.’ And now applications will be reviewed to find out whether they are a) suitable and b) have a large enough space for counter areas and to handle the throughput of people.
A Post Office spokesman said arrangements with retail partners have performed excellently in other towns and the joint working strengthens both enterprises. But the move was criticised by opinion formers in the town and existing Post Office employees.
One councillor said this is a ‘step too far’ and will seriously affect businesses at the top of the town where footfall is bound to slow. He also accused the Post Office of putting profits before people and felt it is inevitable the service will be downgraded, an accusation refuted strongly by the Post Office itself.