New Bilton councillors voice concerns over decision to close community’s Post Office and relocate to petrol station forecourt

Bridget Street Post Office will close in November
New Bilton ward councillors are calling for action.New Bilton ward councillors are calling for action.
New Bilton ward councillors are calling for action.

Councillors in New Bilton say serious questions need to be answered over the decision to close the community’s Post Office and relocate the services to a nearby petrol station forecourt.

And local councillors have asked Post Office bosses to come to Rugby to address these issues at a meeting.

As we reported last month, the Post Office said its branch at 103 Bridget Street, New Bilton, will close on Monday November 14, with a new service being run from a counter inside the Premier store on the forecourt of the AA petrol station in Lawford Road.

Cllr John Slinger, Cllr Barbara Brown and Cllr Ish Mistry – all councillors in the New Bilton ward – have expressed their ‘continuing concern’ about the decision, after the Post Office wrote to them to confirm that it will proceed with the move.

In a written response to the Post Office’s request for a phone meeting, Cllr John Slinger said: “While we understand that you may not be based in the area, given the gravity of our concerns, we prefer to meet you in person, preferably at the new premises.”

The three councillors said they have a list of questions, many of which are on the safety and access at the new site.

Among their many questions, they want to know if full assessments have been carried out on the impact on accessibility for vulnerable and elderly customers.

In their letter to the Post Office, the three councillors (pictured) said: “The majority of our concerns relate to safety and access for our residents.

“Because you have already confirmed that Post Office Limited is proceeding with this development, and due to our continuing concerns in this regard, we must inform you that we will be leafleting residents of our ward, asking that they share with us, their local councillors, any safety concerns and incidents for the next six months.

“If, after six months, the evidence from residents indicates that the measures you have taken are insufficient to guarantee access and safety, we may run a public campaign calling for the Post Office to be moved to a more suitable site.”A Post Office spokesperson said: “We held a public consultation on the proposed relocation of Bridget Street Post Office in Rugby.

“We are satisfied that the relocated branch would meet the needs of the customers in the area.“For Post Office customers the new operator will provide signposted parking in a dedicated area on the forecourt of the new premises for two cars.

“Additionally, works will be completed on the forecourt to provide a clearly marked designated disabled parking bay outside the shop.

“There is also time restricted roadside parking on Lawford Road and there is limited roadside parking on Plowman Street.

“The new agent will also carry out works to create a marked pedestrian walkway, from the pavement in front of the forecourt to provide safe access to the entrance of the premises.

“Customers will also benefit from daily opening and an additional 34 hours of Post Office service a week, making it more convenient for customers to visit.”