As the Labour Parliamentary candidate for North Swindon, I have been working with residents on the important issue of saving Highworth Post Office and keeping it in the town centre.
The Post Office invited people’s views through its consultation on whether to move the Post Office out of Highworth town centre to Swindon Road Petrol Station. We wanted to ensure people were aware of this change and that they had the chance to make sure their views were heard.
280 people responded to the consultation and over 600 people signed our petition. This provided a clear sign of the strength of feeling within the community. We spoke to residents and they told us how concerned they were about the Post Office moving out of Highworth town centre. They were worried it would be difficult to access without a car and that the road could be dangerous to elderly customers and people arriving on foot. Overwhelmingly they wanted the Post Office to stay in Highworth town centre.
I am therefore pleased that as a result, the Post Office Ltd has decided to keep the Post Office in Highworth town centre.
The Post Office Ltd have said they are committed to maintaining a Post Office in Highworth, and will find an alternative location if the current franchise owners do decide to end their franchise. I think this is an important promise from the Post Office Ltd and I think provides reassurance to residents about the future, whatever the current franchise owners decide to do.
The Post Office Ltd is a Government owned service to the community – and through this process they have recognised the service must continue in the town centre. If a new location is needed then we will work together with the Post Office Ltd and the community to find the best location in the town centre and the best solution for residents.
I can understand that the current franchise owners are disappointed that the move will not take place. I spoke to them last month and can fully understand their situation. However this is a once in a generation decision. Once it is moved out of the town centre it would be very difficult to ever get it back. That’s why we thought it was important that the interests of the residents and the future of Highworth are fully represented and why we decided to work with the community to find a better solution.
As a result the Post Office Ltd have welcomed this, they have listened to the people and are now working to ensure a Post Office will continue to operate in Highworth town centre. I think ensuring there will be a Post Office in Highworth town centre provides the best outcome for the future of Highworth and the residents of the town.
Cllr Mark Dempsey
Swindon Labour Group Deputy Leader