This week, Robert Walter MP (North Dorset) has welcomed news that the people of Shaftesbury will benefit from a free bus service when the main Post Office closes for refurbishment next week, following concerns he raised about the gap in service.
Although Bob welcomes the move to the new style service – which offers longer opening hours for his constituents – he contacted Post Office Limited on 2 August to ask that provision be made to cover the two week gap in service required for the branch’s refurbishment. For a busy town Post Office like Shaftesbury he felt two weeks was just too long for customers to go without.
Post Office Limited responded and, following an investigation of available options, asked a local bus company to provide an hourly bus service from Shaftesbury to Gillingham to fill the gap. This service will run from 9am to 3pm from Shaftesbury, with a bus returning from Gillingham every 45 minutes. The last service will leave Gillingham at 5.45pm and pick-up and drop-off will be outside Shaftesbury Post Office and from the former Co-op car park, High Street, Gillingham.
The new-look Post Office will re-open on Monday 16 September at 1pm and will continue to have four serving positions with two open-plan counters and two screened positions.
The change to this branch is part of a three-year investment and support programme, the largest in the history of the Post Office, which will see around 6,000 branches converting to new style branches, with the aim of creating a more modern and convenient retail experience for customers that includes longer opening hours.
Bob commented: “Although my preference was for a permanent ‘mobile’ post office in Shaftesbury for the duration of the refurbishment, I am delighted that Post Office Limited listened to my concerns and came forward with an alternative plan when that proved impossible.
“No matter how smoothly the customer bus service runs it will undoubtedly be an inconvenience for local people. However, given that the outcome will be a new, modern branch open all day on a Saturday, it will hopefully be worth waiting for.”