Search for new Post Office base in Chorley as town centre WH Smith store closes

Attempts are being made to find a new location for Chorley’s main Post Office which will close in January.

Tuesday, 10th November 2020, 12:25 pm
Updated Tuesday, 10th November 2020, 12:28 pm
The WH Smith store and Post Office, New Market Street, Chorley

The search for premises follows the impending closure of the WH Smith store - which houses the Post Office - in the new year.

It is understood WH Smith will shut its doors in mid January.

The Crown Post Office on Cleveland Street relocated to the New Market Street WH Smith store, downgrading to counters and self-service kiosks inside, following a public consultation several years ago.

The move was criticised at the time by Chorley MP Lindsay Hoyle and the leader of Chorley Council, councillor Alistair Bradley.

In August, WH Smith warned that 1,500 jobs - 11 per cent of its workforce - were under threat after the first lockdown resulted in a drop in sales.

The company’s travel sites, at airports and railway stations, would suffer most of the job losses, it was said.

The company, which made £155 million in profit last year, has 575 high street shops and employs more than 14,000 people.

a WH Smith spokesperson: “We can confirm that the WH Smith store in Chorley will be closing in January when the lease expires. We’d like to thank all our local customers for shopping with us.”

A Post Office spokesperson, said: “The operator for Chorley Post Office has resigned and the branch is due to close at its current location on the 15 January.

“We know how important a Post Office is a community. The vacancy has been advertised and there is an interested retailer. We are currently considering their application. Any move would be subject to public consultation.”

It is not known precisely how staff are affected. All the staff involved are employed by WH Smith.

Councillor Peter Wilson, Deputy Leader of Chorley Council, said: “We’re aware of WH Smiths closing in January, as part of their nationwide review of sites, which is disappointing and we are obviously concerned about the staff who may be losing their jobs as a result.

“We have been in discussion with the Post Office, and potential candidates for the running the future counter service are aware of our offer of assistance to help relocate this important service within the town centre. It’s an important facility for residents, so we’re happy to assist in whatever way we can to keep this service running.”

Malcolm Allen, chairman of Chorley Traders’ Alliance, said it was sad news.

“As long as they find another location for the Post Office in the town centre.

As regards WH Smith, it’s a sign of the times that not many people are buying cards and newspapers. People find they can buy newspapers and magazines when they do a weekly shop in the supermarket.

“I’m very sorry to see another national retailer go in the town centre.”