Post Office rolls on

Trainee Jess (left, behind the counter) receives training from Hayley.
Trainee Jess (left, behind the counter) receives training from Hayley.

Posted - January 09, 2017

Walton Street's temporary persistence

Before Christmas, the Walton Street Post Office was collecting signatures for a national campaign to retain local post offices. This is certainly a concern in central Oxford which has lost many locations – with Walton Street, St Giles and St Aldates the only ones remaining. Over the past ten years, post offices have disappeared, for example, from Hayfield Road, North Parade and Summertown. The overall aim is to combine post office services with general retailing – such as a plan for St Aldates to move into WH Smith.

The Walton Street Post Office has been in a fairly precarious position. For the last six years Sue Hare been operating as a temporary sub-post master on a seven-day rolling contract. The ‘Run A Post Office’ website is advertising this franchise as having a potential fee income of £36,300 per year for a retailer willing to take it on.

A couple of years ago, the operation was poised to move to the Londis convenience store, with a closure for Walton Street announced for July 17, 2015. This would not have been a full-service dedicated post office, but probably run from a computer terminal next to the shop till. However, at the last minute the owner of Londis concluded that it would not be financially viable and pulled out. Local people were also sceptical about the amount of space available for customers, buggies, parcels and general traffic.

For the time being, the Walton Street operation seems likely roll on. Nevertheless, Londis has recently changed hands, so the Post Office could approach the new owner.

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