Opposition to move of Southport Main Post Office

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I am a councillor in the local government ward which contains the Post office.

I have nothing in principle against moving the Post Office into shops which can improve accessibility and extend working hours. I do, however, oppose this proposed move.

The main reason for my opposition is that this appears to be a move which makes life very difficult for customers with mobility difficulties and other disabilities. Besides its closeness to the centre of town for public transport, the present Crown Post Office also has a slip road short term parking spot right outside it, which enables people with movement problems to get to the counters within 25 – 30 yards from drop-off and be picked up again on exit. Mobile phone usage means this can be done without any wait. This affects people with continence problems as well as joint pains/arthritis etc. The pedestrianised Chapel Street site of WH Smiths, particularly with an upstairs siting, means far greater time and distance to the point where this would make personal attendance impossible for people with serious disabilities, of which Southport has a significant number.

The statement that the bus stops are 100 metres away from the new site only relates to SOME bus services shows a disturbing lack of connection with the reality of some Post office users’ lives. The present Crown Post Office site is accessible by bus route to services from all over town (and beyond, eg Banks). WH Smiths is not. For people with even moderate mobility or continence problems the creation of a need to walk 300 metres from their buses might as well be 30 miles.

Likewise the reference to disabled spaces in public car parking 150 metres away from the proposed new site shows a lack of understanding of disability. People with ‘blue badges’ should only be given them if they find it impossible to walk 100 metres. Hence no genuine blue badge holder could access WH Smiths in Southport from the car park to which you refer which is 160 metres away before one adds on distances within the building.

There is a further problem with mobility scooter users. I do not feel the public (including scooter users) would be happy with such vehicles trying to get into WH Smiths’ lift (which is not easily accessible anyway and requires a difficult walk through the aisles of goods). Some of these vehicles are quite large.

I do not think your idea of a single designated till downstairs within WH Smiths would adequately address the above mentioned problems . So, if you had made this arrangement with Sainsbury’s on Lord Street (where, unfortunately, there is possibly not sufficient room anyway), I would have not have objections. But as it stands, I cannot support your proposals for WH Smith on Chapel Street.

Councillor Tony Dawson

Lib Dem, Dukes Ward, Southport
01704 533555



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