As many of you may already know, sadly, Haslemere Post Office in West Street has been scheduled for closure. It’s lease finally ran out at the end of June 2017, and (in the eyes of Royal Mail) the town simply isn’t big enough to justify the property costs. This is the age of emails and online tax discs.
However, it is hugely valued by all of us here in Haslemere – and the surrounding areas. Local individuals as well as businesses now do a good deal of online trading, and therefore require a simple and reliable method of posting their parcels and documents, as well as needing all the other services a good Post Office provides.
Jeremy Hunt intervenes
Having a Secretary of State as our local MP has definitely helped. Jeremy Hunt has been able to get the Chief Exec of the Post Office to defer closure. Huge thanks also go out to the general public, who have signed a number of petitions backing this cause, strengthening our hand in talks. The latest news is that the Post Office will be open until April 2018 and discussions to provide an alternative are going on.
A different approach
In the meantime, Councillor Simon Dear (a property professional), and Brian Howard (a local businessman, florist, and Hogmeister), have been exploring this issue from two different angles, with the aim of keeping the postal service in Haslemere.
- Simon has been talking to existing retailers who may be interested in accommodating a Post Office Counters operation at their current shop premises. The major benefit for the retailer is the extra footfall of potentially hundreds of new customers, whilst the much-reduced cost of sharing a shop makes financial sense for the Post Office. Everyone’s a winner – but it’s still quite complicated to achieve, as almost every shop rents, rather than owns, the building that they trade from. Most leases have clauses against this sort of venture, but it’s by no means an impossible task.
- Brian has an alternative idea: He is looking to keep the Post Office at its current premises in West Street, Haslemere, with the hope that subsidies from local investors, who are prepared to spend money without the ambition of a huge return on their investment, will then benefit the community at large.
Might you be a potential investor? Or perhaps you have another suggestion? We would love to hear from you, so please get in touch. Either way, local people are trying to make a difference, to make sure the Post Office stays open!