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Office supplies company UOE reveals plans for Crouch End Post Office

PUBLISHED: 11:09 20 July 2017 | UPDATED: 12:34 26 July 2017

The Post Office has announced, subject to public consultation, that it intends to appoint UOE Store to operate its �Crown� branch in Crouch End. Picture: RYAN McNAMARA

The Post Office has announced, subject to public consultation, that it intends to appoint UOE Store to operate its �Crown� branch in Crouch End. Picture: RYAN McNAMARA

©RYAN MCNAMARA 2015

A company has revealed plans to transform a popular post office.

A Save the Post Office demonstration outside Crouch End Post Office in May last year. Picture: POLLY HANCOCKA Save the Post Office demonstration outside Crouch End Post Office in May last year. Picture: POLLY HANCOCK

A plan to transform a popular post office into a franchise has been criticised.

Universal Office Equipment (UOE) announced its intention to take over Crouch End Post Office, subject to a public consultation, on Wednesday.

Under the plan the Topsfield Road branch – where activists gathered in May last year protesting against the Post Office’s decision to transform the branch into a franchise – would remain in its current location with the premises becoming open plan.

UOE, which currently operates Post Offices in East Finchley, Potters Bar and Hertford, have said existing staff at the Crouch End branch will be given the option of transferring to the company.

Activists formed a long queue and sang Return to Sender to protest against plans for the crown Post Offices to be franchised out to private companies in last May's protest. Picture: POLLY HANCOCKActivists formed a long queue and sang Return to Sender to protest against plans for the crown Post Offices to be franchised out to private companies in last May's protest. Picture: POLLY HANCOCK

The firm has said the refurbished site will include stationery, gift and business services as well as retaining all Post Office functions.

The office will have five serving positions and its opening hours would be 8.30am to 6pm on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays; 9am to 6pm on Wednesdays; 9am to 5.30pm on Saturdays and 12pm to 4pm on Sundays.

UOE Managing Director and Postmaster Elliot Jacobs said: “We are delighted to be welcoming Crouch End to our growing portfolio of retail stores and Post Offices.

“We look forward to working with Post Office to deliver the service and experience customers want.”

Post Office sales and trade marketing director Roger Gale said the proposal would help secure the long-term viability of services.

“We are making sure we take the right action to sustain services,” he said.

“We have to adapt so we can maintain our presence on high streets and in the heart of communities, which we are determined to do,” Mr Gale added.

But Crouch End Neighbourhood Forum member Norman Beddington questioned the standard of service customers can expect.

“The staff really won’t be motivated. That’s the main worry. At the moment there’s a good standard of service from properly trained staff.

“We would like the same standard. I don’t think that’s guaranteed if the post office is put out to tender,” he added before calling for the consultation to extend to whether the branch should become a franchise in the first place.

However, a Post Office spokeswoman confirmed the consultation’s focus would not be on whether or not to transfer the office to a private company and indicated details of a customer drop in session would be published in due course.

The six week public consultation ends on September 6.

The public cam share views at postofficeviews, by email at comments@postoffice.co.uk, call 03457 223344 or write to FREEPOST, Your Comments.

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