Elderly people oppose new plans for Paddington post office
ELDERLY people fear plans to relocate a Paddington post office could create an extra hurdle to collecting their pensions and posting letters. Post Office Ltd plans to move the Praed Street branch to West End Quay in February, to make way for redevelopment
ELDERLY people fear plans to relocate a Paddington post office could create an extra hurdle to collecting their pensions and posting letters.
Post Office Ltd plans to move the Praed Street branch to West End Quay in February, to make way for redevelopment of the area.
The new branch will maintain the same opening hours and is less than 400 yards away but the accessibility to the new site, which is not on a bus route, has caused concern among elderly residents.
"The choice of West End Quay is not very sympathetic to those who would find difficulty with walking," said Honorary Alderman Anne Mallinson, chairwoman of the Senior Citizens' Forum.
"The distance isn't going to be a problem, but the distance from the bus stop is greater, which is a downside, as the less mobile use buses rather than the Tube."
John Zamit, chairman of the South East Bayswater residents association, said he would like to see an additional bus stop near the site to make it more accessible to customers with limited mobility.
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The same range of services will be available at the new branch, including personal banking, car tax renewal, passport application services and bureau de change. And customers will still be able to collect benefits in cash using banking services or a Post Office card account.
But the new post office will not provide an external stamp vending machine or online Lottery service. And it will have only eight counters - two less than the Praed Street branch.
Valerie Goldstone, who owns Praed Street jewellery shop Treasures at Paddington Jewellers, said the move would not be popular with traders.
"It's horrific, they're downsizing, and this is going to cause chaos," she said. "Yesterday I queued for 40 minutes and now they tell us they are down-sizing. The grey suits don't know what's going on at grass roots level."
Kay Buxton, chief executive of the Paddington Waterside Partnership, said she would support the move if it kept the post office open.
"We are delighted that Royal Mail has committed to retaining the post office counter within Paddington," she said. "It provides a vital service for local businesses and residents."
Martine Munby, spokeswoman for Post Office Ltd, said: "Due to the redevelopment of the area we had little option other than to vacate the current premises.
"However, we firmly believe this is an exciting opportunity to further invest in our overall service offer in Paddington. We are confident that out loyal customers will welcome our plans.