Queues warning at Welwyn Garden City post office

QUEUES of people line almost every post office in Welwyn Hatfield.

And the situation might get even worse.

That’s the fear of former members of the Council of War – the group which unsuccessfully petitioned to keep the Handside branch open – after an application to convert the central post office into a multi-purpose convenience store was submitted to Welwyn Hatfield Council.

Dr Dennis Lewis, the group’s former chairman, said: “I think currently the hub post office is only just about fit for purpose.

“We were told about it being made into a convenience store about a year or two ago and that they would only be keeping four positions out of eight open.

“Then you see at lunchtime queues of people, just at the same time when their staff are also on lunch.”

He added: “For a central post office, it’s a disgrace and something needs to be done about it.”

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County councillor Malcolm Cowan said the planned changes had already equated to a “drop in service”.

He told the WHT on a recent visit he found the side shop of the Howardsgate branch no longer sold stamps and he had to wait in line at the main counter.

“The queue was snaking up and down the post office and the assistant was sat there [behind the side till] doing sweet FA.

“I could have been in and out of there in 30 seconds, but instead had to queue a lot longer just to buy a stamp.”

Richard Edlin, manager of Huttons Newsagents, where the Handside post office was situated, said: “If they’re going to make people trawl through groceries it could make queues longer [with the less space as well].

“It could work though, as long as they realise they have to fit both purposes. They have to concentrate on the post issues as they are meant to be a post office, so it has to be a balance.”

Mr Edlin added: “I do think this is just the way things are going now though. Times are hard, everyone has to make money.

“It should be interesting to see how they do if they get the alcohol licence and when Sainsbury’s closes for the next few years.”

Owner of the town centre post office, Chirag Arvindbhai Patel, was not available for comment.

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