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Customers raise concerns over possible changes at post offices

Plans to update the services at Blackwater and Yateley have received a mixed reaction

Yateley Post Office would remain open for longer if the changes go ahead

Potential changes to two post offices have prompted concerns from customers.

Among the proposals to update the service, the Post Office wants to remove the separate security screened counters at its branches in London Road, Blackwater and Tudor Drive, Yateley.

But customers said they would feel "uncomfortable" carrying out personal finances on the retail counter and in front of other shoppers queuing up behind them.

Myra Billings, of Stookes Way, Yateley, said: “From my point of view I would not want that. It would be far too open.

“Customers do not want to discuss their personal business in front of everyone, they want a bit of privacy when paying things like their bills.

“My daughter uses that Post Office a lot and if she knew that this could happen, I don’t think she would like it either.”

Further proposals will reduce some of the services at each branch. On demand travel insurance, transcash payments, premium savings bonds and payment by cheque would no longer be available at either branch.

Chris Barnes, of Coppice Gardens in Yateley, said: “The people that do not have the mobility to go to the other Yateley branch in Harpton Parade rely on the services in Tudor Drive. Customers use it to pay bills, to apply for tax discs, passports and to exchange money.”

Adrian Collett, of Globe Farm Lane, Darby Green, added: “Our concern is that some of the services will not be given.

“It will cause an inconvenience for some people I suspect as they will be expected to travel further away to use an alternative branch. Those residents who do not have a car, rely on the locality of the Post Office service. They do not want to buy a computer just to renew their car tax or pay bills.”

Letters were sent out to residents in Yateley and Blackwater asking them to take part in a public consultation.

Customers were asked why they used the Post Office, what they liked about it and if they had any comments about the changes to the branches.

The month-long consultation to the Blackwater branch closed on July 26. The Yateley consultation continues until August 20.

If the changes do go ahead, both branches would remain open for longer. The new hours at the Yateley branch would be Monday to Saturday 7am to 9pm and Sunday 7am to 6.30pm compared to Monday to Friday 9am to 5.30pm and Saturday 9am to 12.30pm.

The new hours at the Blackwater branch would be Monday to Saturday 6am to 8pm and Sunday 7am to 8pm, rather than Monday to Saturday 9am to 5.30pm.

The Post Office expects to make these changes in September or October. The branches may need to close for around three days to allow for refurbishment works.

Mark Jacobs, area manager for the Post Office, said: “We are talking to the sub-postmaster about the possibility of making some changes to these post offices and we would like you to tell us what you think about the changes before we finalise our plans.

“We are investing in our branches to make them more modern and convenient for customers and our sub-postmasters who run them. We want to know what is important to you and...what you think about the changes.”

 
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