Is the Post Office on the move?

BALLYMONEY Post Office is moving from Linenhall Street to a new location at Glebeside Spar.

The relocation plans are set to take place in March although The Post Office has started a six-week public consultation process to gather local views on the issue.

Revealing the news on Monday at a Council meeting held in Riada House, councillors heard: ‘The Post Office has given notice of its proposal with the agreement of the subpostmaster, to move the Post Office at 11 Linenhall Street, Ballymoney to a new location at Glebeside Spar, 22 John Street, Ballymoney.

‘It has now started a six week local public consultation and views are invited on the following areas:

* How suitable you think the new location and premises are and how easy to get there.

* Are the new premises easy for you to get into and is the inside easily accessible?

* 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 move of this branch is part of a three-year investment and support programme, the largest in the history of the Post Office Ltd which will see around 6,000 branches (about half the Post Office network) converting to new style branches.

‘What will this mean for customers?

* A modern open plan branch in newly refurbished premises

* Longer opening hours

* The same products and services

* Selected Post Office services will also be available at the retail counter during shop opening hours

‘The date of the proposed change is March 2013.’

While the news has raised some concerns about the future of the Linenhall Street and the removal of another business from it, one local MLA has welcomed the news.

Local MLA Mervyn Storey said: “Any proposed change brings with it a degree of concern, such as the impact on Linehall Street, however I think that this proposal is to be welcomed as it will consolidate and improve the service from the post office in Ballymoney.

“I have had discussions with both the post office and Mr David Symth of Glebeside Spar where the new office is to be located and I have no doubt that he is committed to ensuring that this move results in an improved service for the people of Ballymoney.

“We will listen with interest to any comments that are raised during the consultation and ensure that concerns are addressed by the Post Office prior to the move.”

Post Office Regional Network Manager for Northern Ireland, Sheila McCann, said: “We understand how important having a Post Office is to residents in Ballymoney and we are confident that this new modern branch will meet the needs of the local community and secure services for the future.

She added: “The proposed changes to the branch are part of a three year investment programme, the largest in the history of the Post Office, that will see around 6000 branches (about half the Post Office network) converting to new-style branches. The investment marks a commitment to no more branch closure programmes.”

Opening hours at the proposed new location would be 07:00 - 21:00 Monday to Saturday, offering customers an extra 33 hours a week to access Post Office products and services.

During the public consultation Post Office Ltd welcomes feedback on any issues customers would like considered before a final decision is taken on this proposal. The consultation will close on 14 February 2013. Submissions can be made during the consultation by Freepost to Post Office Ltd.