Dismay at delay to pop-up post office

January 06 2021
Dismay at delay to pop-up post office

THERE has been criticism of Post Office Ltd at the delay in opening the planned new pop-up post office in Wells.

Wells City Council offered the bus station waiting room as a temporary venue for a pop-up post office before Christmas and carried out work to make the building ready. But Post Office Ltd were unable to source suitable staff, and it will not now open until January 13.

A second post office counter at Budgens on Bath Road was in place in the week before Christmas, and Nigel and Heather Derrick of Natural Pets of Wells in Queen Street continue to work on their application for post office counters, although they say it is a lengthy process so nothing is likely to be in place in their shop for several months.

“The city council are very disappointed that despite having the waiting room prepared for the last few weeks and done all the work including a new alarm system the Post Office asked for, they have again delayed the opening and the people of Wells have not had a central post office to use before Christmas,” said Town Clerk Steve Luck.

“The city council has no control over Post Office Ltd and dealing with them has been deeply frustrating,” said Wells Mayor Philip Welch.

“For more than four years the council has been working with Post Office Ltd to keep a post office in the city centre. First by extending the lease on the Market Place building, then working with Post Office Ltd to look at setting up post office counters at the Spar in Tucker Street, Peacocks in High Street, the pet shop in Queen Street and most recently the ticket office at the bus station.

“All the efforts of Town Clerk Steve Luck and councillors over the years to work with Post Office Ltd have come to nothing and the single counter at Budgens on Bath Road was left to take the strain alone at a time when more parcels are being sent because of Covid until Budgens were able to install a second counter a few days before Christmas.

“The queues there had been horrendous and enormous credit is due to Richie Church, the Budgens postmaster, and his staff for the calm and friendly efficiency they showed despite enormous pressure.”

Post Office Ltd say that post office at Wells Bus Station in Princess Road will open at 9am on January 13. The opening hours will be Monday to Friday, 9am-4pm; Saturday, 9am-noon.

They say that this is a temporary solution while they finalise plans for a permanent solution, and they are progressing the application from an interested retailer who wants to take on Wells Post Office.

The post office in Wells Market Place closed last July and Wells has been without a city centre post office since then.

A Post Office spokesperson said: “We apologise for any inconvenience caused by the temporary closure of Wells Post Office. This has been an exceptional time with the coronavirus pandemic and the knock-on effect on retailers. The branch had been due to move to the Peacocks store before the business went into administration. We were unable to maintain a Post Office at the existing premises as the lease had expired.”