I would also refer to the comments I made earlier about the ease of parking to use the current Post Office.
In terms of using Post Office services when inside the premises, would Post Office services be...?*
Note: you may want to consider factors such as the layout of the store and manoeuvrability inside the store
- Much harder
Why do you think Post Office services would be harder to use inside the proposed Post Office premises than currently? Please write in below.
The current premise is ideal, as it focuses on the needs of Post Office customers, whilst offering other goods, such as cards, packaging and stationery which are complementary to the primary offer of Post Office services.
The current premises has adequate space to allow privacy, does not become overcrowded and offers the ability for simple, orderly queuing - not being subject to different sales points, which may become a cause of conflict as an alternative premises offers a different business model, thriving on the ability for customers to 'pop in and shop', often spending a matter of seconds or minutes to make single item purchases.
Are there any other local community issues which you believe could be affected by or affect the proposed Post Office move?
Note: Possible examples might include a Christmas fayre restricting access to the Post Office, or a local disability centre in the area that may be disadvantaged by the Post Office move. Please write in below.
Post Office Ltd admits that Wedmore Post Office engages in 820 Post Office Ltd transactions a week, large or small, which is 75 visitors making purchases from Post Office Ltd in each half day session (and an additional number who will visit the existing premises for other purposes with no financial value to Post Office Ltd, such as dry cleaning, cards, stationery, etc. As such, our current counter staff are busy throughout their working hours. Post Office Ltd's suggestion that this level of business activity can be absorbed easily into the working hours of existing staff in another village business seems unrealistic and absurd.
Shopping patterns in Wedmore are focused on the usual retail business hours of Monday to Friday 09.00 - 17.30 and Saturday mornings, and as a consequence, the current Post Office's opening hours match and reflect the needs of this rural community. There is little night life - other than our three pubs - and no public transport to or from the village outside core retail hours. Local people are used to working within the constraints of limited opening hours - that is part of the charm of living in rural Somerset - and we do not expect, or want, what those who live in the metropolis expect or want.
Additionally, moving the Post Office from its current location will put at risk the survival of some 10 other independent retail businesses in The Borough Mall, as users of the Post Office provide a large footfall to and through this small precinct of additional shops. There is currently a balance to retail shopping in the village which closure of the current Post Office would imperil and, potentially, destroy.
Is there anything you particularly like about the change?
Do you have any suggestions that could help us make the proposed Post Office move better? Please write in below.
Listen to what local people have said to you, and act accordingly.
In my view, this consultation should be the 18th of that select few where Post Office Ltd has decided that the actions it proposes are neither suitable nor appropriate for this community.
The best thing would be not to move the Post Office from its current location.
Please write in below any further feedback or general comments you would like to make about the proposed move of the Post Office premises.
I would draw Post Office Ltd's attention to the statements it makes in its own advertisements for staff, wherein it:
* "recognises the major social value that Post Offices provide to communities"
* identifies Post Office Ltd as "a commercial business set apart by its public purpose"
* states Post Office Ltd "believes in the importance of connecting communities and enhancing the powerful role they play in all our lives"
* refers frequently to being at the "heart of the community", and to its social responsibilities
all of which ring hollow after the experience of this so-called 'consultation' endured throughout this community.
This consultation is inadequate and flawed, and the consequences of those flaws have been trouble and division throughout the community. It is clear from the direction and constraints of the consultation that the decision itself seems to have been made, and local views are sought on the merits of a new location alone, rather than the merits of the current location. I would endorse the comments from Wedmore Parish Council in this respect.
Post Office Ltd got its facts wrong in stating that the current Postmaster agreed to the move, which he does not. In reality, Post Office Ltd had decided unilaterally that the business was not "sustainable" and offered him a series of closed options, none of which would allow him to continue to offer Post Office services as he does currently.
Additionally, advertising the Wedmore Post Office franchise on Post Office Ltd's website in combination with the franchise for the National Lottery, currently held by Wedmore Paper Shop & Village Stores, has been construed by local residents and businesses alike as a highly aggressive move from Post Office Ltd.
The performance of representatives of Post Office Ltd at a public meeting attending by some 350 local people - on a Bank Holiday weekend, when there were two other major events on in the village - was lamentable. They were unprepared and poorly briefed. There was universal and unanimous support for leaving the Post Office in its current location.
A petition was presented with 1,000 signatures calling on Post Office Ltd to leave Wedmore Post Office where it is located currently, and an additional 32 signatures have been sent to Post Office Ltd in the post.
Although Post Office Ltd and Royal Mail are separate companies, the close proximity of current working arrangements means that any change of location undertaken by Post Office Ltd may imperil the village's sorting office.