A DECISION to downgrade and take services away from Lees Post Office has been criticised by local councillors.
Nine years ago, more than 6,000 people signed a petition to save the High Street branch from closure after a culling of local branches.But there appears to be no reprieve this time as Post Office bosses are determined to strip its ‘main branch’ status down to that of ‘Local Plus.’
Business customers, already without any nearby banking facilities, are expected to suffer most from the decision.
Springhead and Waterhead Post Offices have closed down in the last 18 months.
Local Plus Post Offices won’t accept deposits larger than £2,000. Foreign currencies, other than euros, will have to be ordered elsewhere.
Saddleworth West and Lees councillor Sam Al Hamdani said: “It is an important local service and we have already lost services.
“We can’t afford to lose more given the amount of new houses they are bringing into the area with the Knowls Lane housing development.”
Saddleworth Parish councillor Barbara Beeley added: “It is not as though it isn’t used. It is never empty. It just doesn’t add up.
“If the Post Office lose the things they did previously then it doesn’t become a viable business any longer.
“It just seems as residents we are being picked on yet again. And if you are from a business, it opens you up to being a victim of crime if you are carrying large amounts of money around.”
A Post Office spokesperson said “Local Plus Post Offices are able to offer most popular products and frequently used services that account for well over 95 per cent of the transactions of any other Post Office.
“We can confirm the vast majority of the products and services regularly requested by our customers will continue to be available at Lees Post Office, this includes cash withdrawals and deposits from UK high street banks, posting collecting and returning letters and parcels as well as bill payments.
“The small number of products and services which will no longer be available at Lees Post Office will be available at Lees Road Post Office, located less than a mile away.”
The Post Office claims the Local Plus model allows retailers the flexibility to run the post office from their retail counter with thousands of branches operating in this way.