Sudden post office closure causes concern
by Keri Beckingham
THE unexpected closure of the post office in Westbury-on-Trym left residents without an important local service for a number of days in July. Normal service is being resumed with the announcement that it was due to reopen on July 26 under new management.
On Monday July 23, a notice appeared on the locked door of the Post Office, stating it “has closed until further notice due to unforeseen circumstances.”
The Post Office has informed local councillors of the situation, but the reason for the closure remains something of a mystery. However, the Henleaze and Westbury Voice is aware of many negative reviews left about the Post Office on Google and Yell.com, with comments suggesting that poor customer service and rudeness by staff is something that has been regularly experienced by locals.
Speaking to Henleaze and Westbury Voice, a Post Office spokesman said: “We understand and appreciate how much communities rely on our services and we apologise for any inconvenience caused by the temporary closure of Westbury-on-Trym Post Office since 23 July. We would like to reassure customers that the decision to suspend services at any of our branches is never taken lightly, and we will only do so when it is warranted.
“We are committed to providing a post office in Westbury-on-Trym and we are looking to see how we can restore Post Office services to the area as soon as possible. In the meantime, alternative branches are Greystoke, Henleaze and Druid Hill.”
In response to the closure, Councillor Liz Radford said: “This unexpected temporary closure will be an inconvenience for many, as Westbury-on-Trym Post Office is our only local facility for services such as the passport check and send facility and driving license photo card renewal.
“Please consider helping elderly neighbours who need access to the Post Office for their benefits, but find travelling difficult and thank you to staff at Henleaze Post Office, who will be dealing with the brunt of this closure.”
Councillor Geoff Gollop added: "I hope this closure is very short term, as Westbury traders cannot afford to lose yet more footfall. A thriving post office is much needed by both traders and residents."
Commenting on behalf of local businesses, Amanda George, chair of Westbury on Trym Business Association (WOTBA) and owner of We Make Bristol, said: “The sudden closure of the post office has certainly been a huge shock to local residents and businesses. As a main Post Office so many people are reliant on its services and being on main bus routes and having a car park opposite it’s so easy to get to. I know many people will now struggle to get to an alternative.
“Whoever does take over it will have an amazing opportunity as it’s got a great retail space with guaranteed footfall and I wish them all the best in getting the post office back up and running as soon as possible.”
After being closed for three days, it was announced on the BS9 Families Facebook group that the new manager of the post office will be Zoe Stockham, who has a background in retail, and that it would reopen on Thursday July 26.
In addition, the post office will also undergo a refit in order to make part of the shop into a general store that will stock tea, coffee, beans and milk but not alcohol or cigarettes. The Henleaze and Westbury Voice has been told that the post office should be closed for about 10 days during the refit, and the date for this will be announced beforehand so people can make alternative arrangements whilst it is closed.
The full addresses of alternative post offices that are located close to Westbury-on-Trym are: Greystoke Avenue Post Office, 12 Arnside Road, Southmead, BS10 6AT, Henleaze Post Office, 152 Henleaze Road, Henleaze, Bristol, BS9 4NB and Druid Hill Post Office, 5 Druid Hill, Stoke Bishop, BS9 1EW.