Closure of Scarborough Post Office 'will leave a big gap'

Scarborough's Post Office will relocate into WH Smith on 16 May.
Scarborough's Post Office will relocate into WH Smith on 16 May.

A campaigner who had been fighting to save the town's main Post Office has talked of her disappointment at the news that it will close.

Denise Sangster, from Scarborough's Labour Branch group, led the campaign to object to the relocation of post office services into WH Smith.

Her petition was backed by hundreds yet this was not enough to change the mind of Post Office, who confirmed today its decision to close the town's main branch.

Read more: Scarborough's Post Office on Aberdeen Walk to close on 8 May
Mrs Sangster said: "I'm not surprised but I'm very very disappointed. It's happening right across the country and I don't think Post Office are really listening, we keep hearing that it's a commercial decision for them.

"A lot of people have put a lot of time and effort to collect signatures and many members of the public didn't even know about their plans until they saw us campaign outside the Post Office. They chose a time when it was difficult for people to get involved, it was right before Christmas and the consultation ended on 28 December. But they just give you the feeling that even if there had been more time, nothing would have changed.

"The Post Office is of great value for the community, it's also a social place for people to meet and it will leave a big gap."

Mrs Sangster's concerns, reflecting those of many local residents, are related to the size of the WH Smith store, which she believes is not suited to accommodate the same amount of people that walk into the Post Office nor those with wheelchairs and pushchairs.

The longer opening hours of the new branch, which will also operate on Sundays, won't make much of a difference either, according to the campaigner.

"If you look at the majority of people that use it, it's people who tend to use it during the week when they come to town to do their shopping. It's not something people think about during the weekend."

The plans were also met with worry and criticism by a group of MPs across the country. However, Scarborough MP Robert Goodwill has always been supportive of the move.

Speaking when the proposals were first revealed, the local MP said he heard positive comments from colleagues serving towns where the move had already happened and that the franchise agreement was a way to guarantee the future of Scarborough's WH Smith store.

However, the latter argument is dismissed by the Labour campaigner.

"WH Smith relies on train stations and airports not their high street stores. With the way retail is going now I don't believe that's enough to secure its future in the town centre and obviously if it goes, what happens to the Post Office?

"I have written to the Shadow Cabinet Minister and I'm prepared to go ahead with the campaign if it makes a difference."