Yesterday it was revealed that the main post office in Consett is to be franchised. This means that the post office will no longer be run directly by the state, but by a private individual or company.

It will probably mean that the post office would move from its current location and be combined with a retail store, becoming much smaller in the process.

Many franchised post offices are combined with newsagents and grocery stores. A number now operate as part of WHSmith. 

Consett's Main Post Office to Be Franchised
A franchised post office

Consett is one of 37 crown post offices across the country that will be franchised. Crown post offices are the main post offices run directly by the government.

Although Royal Mail was privatised in 2013, the Post Office was split off from it in 2011 and kept in government hands. The government has, however, been franchising increasing numbers of crown post offices, as it claims this will improve efficiency.

Malcolm Clarke, who will be the Labour Party candidate for Delves Lane in May’s local elections, said, “This is a big blow, and I am very disappointed by the news.”

“Consett Post Office’s dedicated staff are usually operating at least five desks and still there are queues most of the time.” 

“They work hard and are greatly valued both by Delves Lane and the greater Consettt area.”

“I cannot believe that Consett Post Office is not profitable, but then there is a history of profitable things in Consett being closed by national corporations. I hope all staff can be retained and a suitable alternative site found, however, far better would be to leave things as they are.”

“The post office is well-used, depended upon by hundreds of pensioners, who collect their pensions there and have done for years, and it is sited in an ideal central location as it has been for decades.”

“This is an unwanted and unnecessary disruption to the people of Consett.”

The Post Office commented, “Postmasters and customers across the UK are benefiting from a new modern approach to offering Post Office services.”

“Customers are telling us how much they like the longer opening hours, brighter retail environments and open-plan counters, and many postmasters are benefiting from more efficient ways of working.”

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