Ringwood Town Council rejects relocation of town centre post office to its Gateway HQ
RINGWOOD will remain without its central post office after the town council declined to relocate a branch at its headquarters.
Town clerk Chris Wilkins invited members to explore putting the post office – which had been at the McColl's newsagents until August 2020 – at the Gateway building adjacent to the Furlong.
His report noted there were alternative branches in at Parsonage Barn Lane and Butlers’ Lane, Poulner, but said the absence of a central office was "likely to be or become a very real inconvenience to many businesses and residents and to contribute to the decline of the town centre over time".
The town council had legal power to negotiate with Post Office but the use of the Gateway would require the agreement of New Forest District Council and Hampshire County Council – which both also use the building, he noted.
Mr Wilkins’ report added he would, if members wanted, investigate leasing or buying other premises.
However, councillors believed the set-up costs in terms of facilities and staffing levels would be "significant", while ongoing costs were "unlikely to be recoverable or offset by increased sales".
There was little storage space available at the Gateway and the demands of a post office would have a "detrimental impact" on the current services provided.
Asked to comment, a Post Office spokesperson, said: "We have been working hard to try to restore post office services to this area of Ringwood, after the store where the branch operated, closed in August 2020.
"We advertised the vacancy on www.runapostoffice.co.uk and visited retailers, but we do not currently have any interested applicants. Without suitable premises we cannot reopen Ringwood post office.
"We apologise for any inconvenience caused by the temporary closure of the branch. In the interim, alternative branches include Parsonage Barn Lane and Poulner."