Saturday, 28 November 2020

Concern over post office relocation

PLANS to move Watlington post office to the Co-op store are worrying parish councillors.

PLANS to move Watlington post office to the Co-op store are worrying parish councillors.

The future of the High Street business has been uncertain for months but now the Post Office is planning to move it into the Couching Street shop, enabling it to open every day and an extra 66 hours a week.

Post Office services would be delivered from two open-plan tills at the shop counter from 6am to 10pm daily.

The Post Office is running a public consultation about the proposed move until September 30.

Watlington Parish Council discussed the issue at a meeting on Tuesday with postmistress Nikki Jackson.

Councillor Tony Williamson said: “My impression at the moment is that most people are very pleased that it is going to continue in Watlington but I think there’s a level of anxiety as to how it’s going to be operated within the Co-op.”

Councillor Terry Jackson said: “The general community feel of the small shop will be lost once it’s in the Co-op.”

Mrs Jackson said she didn’t know what would happen to the existing staff as she would no longer be the operator and it would be taken on by MidCounties Co-operative.

Councillor Tom Bindoff paid tribute to her and her team, saying the post office had been the “most efficient place in Watlington by far”.

Meanwhile, a woman has been co-opted on to the council.

Stephanie Van de Pette, who lives in Ash Close, moved to the town more than two years ago.

She is an environmental manager and works for a large construction company covering highways and street lighting contracts in the South-East.

Mrs Van de Pette has served on the trustee boards of a number of voluntary organisations and helped set up a community group which provided birthday cakes for people who can’t afford them.

Councillors approved her appointment unanimously ahead of Brian Steer, who lives off Howe Road.

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