Post Office outreach services confirmed
THE Post Office has confirmed the outreach services that will replace its current facilities in East Hampshire. Branches in East Meon and West Meon, East Tisted and Froxfield will be affected by the changes, which followed a period of public consultation. At West Meon, a hosted service will operate from the current post office site every Tuesday and Thursday from 9am-1pm. The same range of services will be available, with the addition of vehicle licensing, but on-demand currency will no longer be available. West Meon postmaster Rupert Younger said: "It was as expected. We mounted a plea and a campaign to keep some form of service within the village. "We have now found that we will keep our outreach service for eight hours per week, and that is something we've been negotiating for seven or eight months." He added: "It's good news that we have managed to retain a service in the village, and we have gained vehicle licensing, which is a plus." Elsewhere in the district, at East Meon, the current branch will be replaced by a 'partner service' located at the current site. The service will operate Monday to Friday from 8am-6pm and on Saturday from 8am-12.30pm, and will offer a range of the most commonly used Post Office products and services. No-one from East Meon was available to comment. In Froxfield, the existing branch will be replaced by a 'hosted service' at Feedthyme, on Southdean Farm. It will open on Monday and Wednesday from 9.30am-12.30pm and on Friday from 1.30pm -4.30pm. The same range of Post Office services will be available. A hosted service will replace the outgoing post office service at the current site at East Tisted, operating on Monday and Thursday from 9am -1pm. The same range of Post Office services will be available, with the addition of vehicle licensing. Throughout the most recent spell of local consultation, which ended last month, Post Office Ltd sought feedback on the specific outreach service that would replace each of the branches to ensure that an appropriate service would replace closed branches. Post Office Ltd received 40 pieces of correspondence and attended five meetings with customers and their representatives. Tim Nickolls, Post Office Ltd's network development manager for Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, said: "The decision to close any post office branch is difficult and not one that is taken lightly. "In the case of these four branches, we are offering a replacement service that ensures that our customers are still able to access post office services locally. "We believe that the amended plan announced in January and the five replacement services confirmed today will offer our customers across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight the best prospect for a sustainable network in the future, bearing in mind the Government's minimum access criteria and the other factors it asked us to consider," he added.