Burnley’s landmark Crown Post Office branch has served its last customer – despite desperate attempts to keep it open.
The branch in Hargreaves Street was closed on Wednesday by the Post Office, which franchised the service to W.H. Smith in the Charter Walk shopping centre.
The closure, confirmed in the Burnley Express on March 5th, was branded as “disgraceful” by campaigners including Burnley Labour Coun. Julie Cooper who had organised a petition to keep it open.
The Post Office has denied claims that the public will suffer from a decreased service with the loss of the Crown branch and the bulk of its experienced staff.
The new office has five serving positions, a mixture of three screened and two open-plan counters.
Roger Gale, Crown Network general manager, said: “We are committed to keeping a Post Office branch in Burnley and to maintaining the same levels of service for our customers.
“We believe the best way for us to do this is to change the way we operate it, so it will be run by WHSmith High Street Ltd rather than by us directly.”
New opening hours will result in nine and a half extra hours of service every week, including the addition of four hours of service on Sundays.
But Communication Workers’ Union General Secretary Billy Hayes raised concerns about access to services.
He added: “This move will have a huge impact on the high streets of small towns. These offices provide a dedicated specialist service to communities which will not be replicated by a window or two in a bigger shop.”