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Published 8th Mar 2018

residents in coulby newham request return for a main post office

The local community has backed an appeal to bring additional Post Office services back to Coulby Newham.

Currently only a local Post Office with limited services, staff and customers at the Parkway Shopping Centre in Middlesbrough are campaigning to make it a main Post Office, which would result in additional amenities including passport services, identity checks and DVLA services.

“Our nearest main Post Office is Marton, which is a long way for the elderly and those who are not able to travel by car” said Zoe France, Centre Manager.

The Post Office, which is situated within WHSmith, was opened in February 2017 by postmaster Dipak Patel. Following a period of increased custom and footfall, the team at the Parkway Shopping Centre were reassured by the Post Office that if transactions hit a specific number, it would be granted main Post Office status.

However despite exceeding the initial numbers over a sustained period, the Post Office has now refused the request with no reasoning behind the decision.

“On average we get around a dozen requests each day for various services which we can’t fulfil as a local branch. It’s very disappointing that instead of being able to offer these services, we’re having to send our customers away from the centre to another branch” said Dipak, who has relocated the Post Office from Lingfield Ash to within the Parkway Centre..

In July 2017, the Parkway Shopping Centre introduced a free bus service to help those in isolated areas to reach the centre easily. Funded entirely by the shopping centre, the weekly service helps those in Stainton village and the surrounding areas who had been left cut off after local authority services were cut in 2016.

“The free bus service has been a huge success and we’re pleased to be able to confirm that it will continue” added Zoe France.

“But unfortunately, many of those utilising the bus services hoped to be able to use the post office for its pension and identity check services, which hasn’t been the case” she added.

Local Councillors have also shown their support to the centre, including Janice Brunton Dobson. “Not only are the additional services a requirement for the local community, but we have to consider the impact on other local businesses in the Parkway Centre. The Parkway continues to grow it’s number of visitors with the footfall growing year on year and as the largest centre outside of Middlesbrough Town the Parkway warrants a Main Post Office. As the Executive Member for Learning and Skills I would hope that more staff would be employed as a result of gaining main post office status added Janice.

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