No stamp of approval for new Welwyn Garden City post office

WGC’S main post office has undergone a revamp – but the changes have not gone down well with customers.

The branch in Howardsgate has been converted into a Costcutters.

As well as its post office counter facilities, the shop now features shelves and chiller cabinets of food and booze.

But readers have contacted the WHT to complain about the changes, which also include permanently closing off one of the two entrances.

Marion Jay said: “Our newly-renovated post office appears to be designed to deter the customer.

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“Insufficient queuing space and only two out of a measly three tills manned on a busy Monday morning – is this, along with the proposed removal of the WGC sorting office, a plot to finally bring the business to its knees?

“It’s common sense that with a population of 43,000, we need more than a village post office.

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“Roll on Christmas, when the proverbial really will hit the fan.”

Former borough councillor Dr Dennis Lewis, who led a council-of-war to try and save the Handside sub-post office before it was axed, was equally unimpressed.

He said: “It’s a supermarket with a small post office attached. It looks quite nice inside, but it’s still meant to be a Crown Post Office.

“Originally there used to be five counters, now we have three and two bureaus, which is a reduction.

“I wouldn’t really know it was a post office from the outside either, its quite scruffy. Overall I give it four marks out of 10.”

But Chirag Patel, co-manager of the shop, said: “People generally don’t like change.

“Once they get used to the new layout hopefully it will be fine, because it is the same as before – in that there were five post office counters before and there was queuing before.

“At the moment it seems nine out of 10 people are happy, but you always get one or two.”

Mr Patel, who has a similar store in Epsom, Surrey, believes there will be many post offices across the country which adopt a similar arrangement due to the recession, which had hit the business particularly badly.

He added: “Without the shop the post office would probably have closed, it’s the only way of balancing the books.”

As to concerns about there just being one exit, Mr Patel said a thorough fire investigation has been taken.

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