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Portland post office set to move
A PORTLAND post office is set for a move.
A proposal has been put forward to incorporate the Fortuneswell branch within a newsagent less than 100 yards away, saving it for the community.
The move comes after attempts by retiring postmistress Kay Schofield to sell the business.
Relocating it to The Paper Shop down the hill in Fortuneswell secures its future and allows Mrs Schofield to sell the historic building which currently houses the branch.
Because it will become part of the newsagent, the branch will open a lot longer – an extra 58 hours a week.
Post Office Ltd is consulting the community about the move and people have until January 18 to get their comments in.
There is a step at the entrance to the newsagent but improvements will be made to make it more accessible and a hearing loop will be fitted.
A spokesman for Post Office Ltd said: “It is proposed to move the post office from 79 Fortuneswell to create a modern open-plan branch with significantly extended opening hours.
“The proposed new location is a convenience store, 95-99 Fortuneswell.”
The changes are part of an investment programme that will see offices converting to new-style branches. Weymouth’s main post office is relocating to smaller premises in St Thomas Street as part of these changes.
Mrs Schofield, 74, said the business was different to when she first moved to Portland 11 years ago, with many customers now using services online.
She said: “I’ve had it on the market for two years but no-one wants to buy it. I was then offered a solution which involves the post office relocating to The Paper Shop.
“I understand the building I’m in was built as a post office and it dates back until at least 1861.
“It’s sad it’s closing but it’s not viable. It’s not the business I joined 54 years ago.
“The post office will still exist but within a shop. I don’t anticipate any problems with it moving as it’s just down the road.”
Liz Nash, who owns The Paper Shop with husband Glyn, said: “Assuming things go through, we’ll take on the post office plus a member of staff to help us run it.
“We’re re-jigging things around and there will be sufficient room for two stands.
“We want to continue the post office not only for us but for the benefit of the community.
“It would be a problem for a number of people if it was lost.”
Chairman of the Portland Community Partnership Andy Matthews said: “There’s been a threat to the post office for a while.
“The idea of co-location has been done at Easton. If it links up with another business, it helps it survive.
“The partnership is supportive of co-location to support local services and in this case there’s the benefit of longer opening hours.”
Have Your Say On Proposal
OPENING hours for the new Fortuneswell post office will be 5am-8pm Monday to Saturday and 6am-4pm on Sundays.
Customers will be able to carry out a wide range of services including automated banking services, bill and budget payment schemes, card account, postal orders and postage, inland letters/packets, inland parcels, international letters, small packets and printed papers. It is proposed to relocate in March. During the public consultation, Post Office Ltd welcomes feedback on any issues customers would like considered before a final decision is taken.
Submissions can be made by Freepost Your Comments to Post Office Ltd, or via email to email@example.com