With the future of many Post Office branches throughout the country being uncertain, Garstang’s premier branch is bucking the trend and expanding its services.
Owned by town residents Anita and Malim Patel, Garstang Post Office in 39 High Street is set to move next door into 34 – 37 High Street after the postmasters purchased property.
The new location currently operates as a Co-op Food shop, with the branch set to close. Anita and Malim will transform the premises into ‘state of the art’ Post Office as well as a One Stop Stores convenience outlet, owned by Tesco.
Anita, who used to own a Post Office in Ribbleton, said: “Our Post Office is more viable under one roof with the new One Stop shop.
“The services we offer will remain exactly the same – the only difference is that there we will be expanding our opening hours for customers to access.”
Current hours are 9am to 5.30pm Monday to Friday and 9am to 2.30pm on Saturday.
The new premises is set to open from 7am to 9pm Monday to Saturday and 8am to 9pm on Sunday, offering 97 more hours of service every week.
Lesley McNally, Post Office area manager, said: “We are making it easier for customers to get their cash, send and collect their mail and do their banking because we know how important these services are to local residents.”
She added: “We are confident that this relocated Post Office at the heart of the local community will meet customer needs.”
The Post Office is now inviting customers and interested parties to give their comments on the move during a six-week public consultation which will close on Tuesday, March 6.
Lancashire County Coun Shaun Turner, who represents Garstang, said: “It’s great to see the Post Office is stopping and willing to move into next door; I wish Anita and Malim well with the move. The new One Stop Store by Tesco shows that Garstang is a place to invest in.”
Coun Turner added: “The most important thing is that the Post Office will remain for residents to access in what looks like more of a ‘one stop shop’.
“It also opens up next door for another business to start up in Garstang which is always welcome – it’s the best of both worlds.”
The Patels children are also getting involved in the expansion, with all current staff being retained.
Anita said: “It’s an exciting move for sure. My daughter Chetna is an accountant and my son Dipesh is a Starbucks area manager, so their experience will be very helpful.”