With consultation on Dromore Post Office relocation plans now under way, residents are being urged to air their views on a proposal many see as a major blow to the town centre.
The Post Office means to move its Dromore branch from its current Market Square location to Poole’s SuperValu at Banbridge Road, where it would operate as one of its “new main style branches”.
Public consultation began last week, to run until June 23, and Dromore Partnership Chairman and Lagan Valley MP Jeffrey Donaldson is calling on the public to speak up.
He said: “I welcome the fact that the Post Office has honured its commitment to engage in a proper consultation process about the proposal to relocate the Post Office from Market Square out to the SuperValu at Banbridge Road.
“It is vital local people make known their views in relation to the proposed relocation and, in particular, some of our senior citizens, who may find it very difficult to access the new facilities, given that they are outside of the town centre.
“I know there are also concerns within the local retail and business sector about the loss of footfall in Dromore town centre due to the proposed relocation of the Post Office and it’s important those views are reflected in the consultation as well.
“I recognise that the way the Post Office do their business is changing but undoubtedly we need to consider the impact this change will have on our plans for the regeneration of the town centre, so I would encourage everyone with an interest to respond to the consultation.”
The Post Office, meanwhile, says of its plans: “This change is part of a major programme of modernisation taking place across the Post Office network, the largest in the history of Post Office Ltd.
“The Programme is underpinned by Government investment and will see up to 8,000 branches modernised and additional investment in over 3,000 community and outreach branches.
“What will this mean for customers? A modern, open-plan branch, longer opening hours, the same products and services and selected Post Office services will also be available at the retail counter outside main counter times.”
The Post Office says it is particularly eager to hear views as to the suitability of the new location and premises and how easy it is to get there.
“Are the new premises easy for you to get into and is the inside easily accessible?,” it asks. “Do you have any concerns about the new location?If so, do you have any suggestions that could help us make it better for you? Any local community issues which you think could be affected by the proposed move? Anything you particularly like about the proposed change?”
The public can share its views on the proposal via an online questionnaire at postofficeviews.co.uk. When entering the site you will be asked to enter the code for this branch: 35170499.
If the move goes ahead it is expected to take place in August this year.