Fringe Box



Guildford Post Office to Move to WH Smith In The High Street

Published on: 14 Dec, 2018
Updated on: 15 Dec, 2018

WH Smith in Worcester, one of the 130 with a Post Office branch. Photo – Wikipedia

By Hugh Coakley

Guildford Town Post Office is moving to the first floor of WH Smith in the High Street in April 2019.

News of the move was set out in a consultation proposal by Post Office Ltd, the government company that owns and runs the nation’s post offices. It is part of the continuing modernisation of the post office branch network.

The consultation closes on December 19.

WH Smith in Guildford High Street. The new Guildford Post Office will be on the first floor.

The Guildford branch will be franchised to WH Smith which currently operates 130 post offices in their shops. The stationers and newsagents are poised to franchise a further 74 branches including Guildford. The contract for the Guildford branch will be for ten years with a break clause at five and a half years.

The new branch is planned to have five serving positions in total, one screened and four open plan, to serve current and future predicted business levels. This is a reduction from the seven screened counters and three self-service points in the existing branch.

Access to the new branch would be through the WH Smith shop and via a lift, escalator or stairs.

The existing Guildford Town Post Office at the top of North Street will be relocated in April 2019.

The Post Office changes have been opposed by the post office workers union, the Communication Workers Union (CWU), and by labour politicians. There have been demonstrations at nearly 50 locations around the country in an attempt to save the “great British institution” from closures and sell-offs. The union says that when branches close, many staff leave the service and jobs with firms such as WH Smith are paid less than those at the Post Office.

Post Office Ltd confirmed that they were committed to maintaining Post Office services on high streets and within communities for years to come.

“We are not making these changes lightly,” said Roger Gale, the Post Office’s network and sales director. “But we need to make them if we are to ensure that branches like Guildford remain at the heart of towns and cities, not just in the short term, but for the long term too”.

This is against a background of Post Office profits increasing from £13m to £35m in 2017/18 despite the challenges facing retailers in local high streets.

Husna Ramsahaye, the Guildford Post office branch manager said: “All the services here in the branch now will also be at WH Smith’s. However, the reduced number of counters may have on an impact on the service that we can provide.”

She added: “I have worked here for 20 years and other staff much longer. The post office grows into you. I am sad that it is being franchised and that my children may never see a traditional post office.”

An uncorroborated report suggested all existing staff at Guildford Post Office had decided to resign over the move but it is understood that they have been given the option to: be TUPE’d (transferred under Protection of Employment Act regulations) to WH Smiths, be redeployed within Post Office Ltd or accept a settlement.

Other views on the move have been varied.

Cllr Caroline Reeves

Cllr Caroline Reeves, leader of the Liberal Democrats at Guildford Borough Council said: “I’m inclined to think the decision has already been taken and the question is really how the WH Smith in Guildford High Street will be reconfigured to make the move a success.”

“The WH Smith store is cramped and not easy to navigate, especially for anyone with mobility issues or with a pushchair, so a complete review of the store layout will be essential.”

She added: “A number of people complained when the Post Office moved to its current location, so some may be pleased it will once more be at the bottom of the High Street.”

Rebecca Makemson, a post office customer, said: “I would prefer it to stay as a post office as you get better service. However, it is ok in other places as long as it is well signposted and can be found easily.”

Share This Post

Responses to Guildford Post Office to Move to WH Smith In The High Street

  1. Sue Warner Reply

    December 14, 2018 at 1:21 pm

    I personally think it’s a bad idea. Whenever I’ve been to Guildford Post Office, it’s always really busy and it’s taken ages to get served and now they want to make it smaller. It is just a money grabbing exercise by the Post Office, in my opinion.

  2. Doug Staniforth Reply

    December 15, 2018 at 9:42 am

    But you will be offered a creme egg with your stamps.

  3. Gina Redpath Reply

    December 15, 2018 at 5:27 pm

    Sad about staff cuts, some of those staff have been there for decades.

    Quiz question: When did the Post Office become separated from the Royal Mail?

    Answer: April Fools Day 2012

  4. Sarah Smith Reply

    December 16, 2018 at 3:49 pm

    This is a sad day for Guildford Post Office has when it moves will be a loss of trade to other businesses that rely on the customers who use the post office, such as the neighbouring coffee shop.

  5. Mary Redgwell Reply

    December 16, 2018 at 6:29 pm

    I think this is a bad decision. It did not work in Godalming so it probably will not work in Guildford.

  6. Ros McMillan Reply

    December 18, 2018 at 10:31 pm

    As in most privatisations, sooner or later profit becomes much more important than people. The present post office works brilliantly with welcome seats provided for customers waiting in the well organised queuing system at buy times.

    This will be a very sad move.

  7. David Daniels Reply

    February 25, 2019 at 10:41 am

    Have the results of the consultation been published, or was this just a whitewash exercise?

    • Jan Read Reply

      May 7, 2019 at 2:17 pm

      I didn’t know that the Post Office was moving but for me, it’s a relief not to have to walk all the way up High or North Street to get there.

      Now it is back more in line with where it used to be. It’s more accessible in the centre of town.

  8. Brian Holt Reply

    May 7, 2019 at 9:09 pm

    If anyone has a car and can reach Fairlands Estate easily, there is an excellent, friendly Post Office there.

    There is parking outside the shop and they are so helpful and friendly.

    This post office is ideal if you have parcels to post, and you can also renew Road Tax there.

    • S Callanan Reply

      May 8, 2019 at 12:55 pm

      There’s much the same thing at Shalford and Boxgrove. In each case, the post office is in the same premises as the convenience store with parking outside. You can carry out post office transactions at any time within the convenience store’s extended opening hours. A parcel, say, would then go off at the next available collection.

Leave a Comment

Please see our comments policy. All comments are moderated and may take time to appear.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *