The Post Office network will forge ahead with plans to re-locate its Fence branch to new and modernised premises.
In a letter to Pendle MP Andrew Stephenson, Suzanne Richardson – regional network manager – confirmed the Post Office would proceed with a proposal to move its current location on Wheatley Lane Road 130 metres down the road to Fence Village Stores.
Between 1997 and 2010, Pendle lost 17 post offices and 5,000 were lost across the countryMP
“The move of this branch is part of our modernisation and investment plans for the Post Office network,” said Suzanne. “As part of the programme we asked our postmasters whether they wished to stay with the network. With the wish of the existing postmaster to leave the network, it was important to find a new and sustainable location for the post office in the local community for the longer term.”
A number of factors were taken into account including the location, access, size of the premises and suitability of the operator. Suzanne said: “We recognise that the Post Office plays an important part in the lives of customers, particularly to elderly and disabled customers, and we want to make our services as accessible as possible.
“The new branch will be built in line with Post Office specifications, making sure there is sufficient space for the new-style local post office to operate alongside the retail offer. I can confirm the majority of Post Office products and services will continue to be available and the very small number of services that will not be offered will continue to be available at Nelson Post Office.”
She added: “The change also means that residents will benefit from significantly longer opening hours so they can use our services while the store is open – seven days a week – and at times that suit them better, while helping to provide long term viability and future sustainability for the branch.”
And Mr Stephenson, who sat on the Postal Service Bill Committee, supports the Post Office’s modernisation drive, which aims to maintain a branch network of at least 11,500 offices. He said: “Between 1997 and 2010, Pendle lost 17 post offices and 5,000 were lost across the country.
“I, like many people in Pendle, value the local post offices very highly. They provide vital services to local communities and I will continue to do all I can to make sure they have all the financial and organisational support they need to deliver these services effectively.”