Westbury Town Forums

The Westbury Boards => Westbury News & Discussion => Topic started by: John GL on November 28, 2017, 11:18:14 AM

Title: Post Office
Post by: John GL on November 28, 2017, 11:18:14 AM
Heard today that the new Post Office will be in the Mill House Café, opposite Morrisons.  According to one of the girls at Fairfield Farm (who used to work in the Co-op P.O.), it's definite and expected to open in January.

Excellent news.  Surprising that I haven't seen anything in WHN or the Wiltshire Times.
Title: Re: Post Office
Post by: Mike Hawkins on November 28, 2017, 11:38:08 AM
If true, it will be excellent news!
Title: Re: Post Office
Post by: Michael on November 28, 2017, 13:03:23 PM
Have to say I have not heard anything via WTC.
Title: Re: Post Office
Post by: John GL on November 28, 2017, 17:12:36 PM
Well, it's only hearsay but she did seem definite!
Title: Re: Post Office
Post by: DORIAN on November 29, 2017, 08:29:08 AM
Due to Grid Lock in Westbury , went to Warminster late afternoon to post mail to States. The queue  for the Post Office AKA W H Smith, was out the shop and down to Lloyds Bank entrance in the Mall. a definite need for a Post office. how could Westbury, be so badly treated for a service so valuable as this... I think I know the answer
Title: Re: Post Office
Post by: baldy on November 29, 2017, 15:16:01 PM
I chair the town council working group which is monitoring this matter. We would probably step forward to lease premises and run a PO in the High Street ONLY IF no-one else offered to do so as it would use tax payers money via Council Tax to subsidise the business. But before we could do that, we would have to overcome the unfortunate fact that the town council does not have legal competence to run a business - ie. the law says we cannot do anything requiring money to be spent UNLESS a specific law allows it. Until the elections in May, the town council did have legal competence to run businesses but as a result of insufficient candidates coming forward during the elections, we have insufficient elected councillors - ie. less than two thirds. Many new councillors were co-opted. To become competent to run a business and so be able to offer to run a PO we would have to ask the recently co-opted councillors to resign and face by-elections. There is no certainty that enough would offer to possibly lose their seat in this way .....

We have known for a long time that the Mill Cafe put in an application, but Post Office Ltd is extremely slow in progressing applications. It is almost beyond belief that they did not even start the process by advertising the business opportunity in Westbury until early Summer this year - a long time after Co-Op served notice that they would close their PO in October 2017.

One of the issues is the awful access into the Mill Cafe via steep steps and a fairly steep ramp at the back which is not suitable for many disabled folk or some in wheel chairs as the angle of the slope of the ramp really is too steep for many people - especially those with poor balance or using crutches.

I do not know at this stage whether the cafe has definitely been given approval yet.


The rumours that the Mill Cafe is an applicant have circulated since the month the Mill Cafe made their application in the Summer. I imagine they have told everyone and certainly all the local PO / sub-PO staff I have spoken to about this have all known that the Mill Cafe is in the running. There was also another rumour that Morrisons had made an application, but this turned out to be false.
Title: Re: Post Office
Post by: DORIAN on November 29, 2017, 18:10:55 PM
thanks for the response nothing to add though. Westbury needs a PO, that's it!!
I work in Basingstoke, and on my way back I stop at Stockbridge, a little village with 2000 lucky home owners, so I use their little post office where I do my business ....  says it all really. and yes Debbie, I am having a justified moan at Westbury
Title: Re: Post Office
Post by: baldy on November 29, 2017, 19:03:41 PM
On my way in to Bath and back (at random times) via Hinton Charterhouse and Midford, I've started using the little PO in Hinton Charterhouse. I've never seen the queue more than one person long, but it is closed on Wednesdays .... which means a visit to Dilton Marsh PO at Fairfield Farm ...
Title: Re: Post Office
Post by: Al on December 06, 2017, 14:13:10 PM
The PO at Fairfield Farm in Dilton works. Sure, its a little slow, but then so am I!
Title: Re: Post Office
Post by: baldy on December 15, 2017, 18:01:34 PM
The application for a Westbury PO has been withdrawn.

The application process will be restarted from scratch in the New Year.
Title: Re: Post Office
Post by: baldy on December 16, 2017, 17:33:59 PM
When Post Office Ltd re-advertise the business opportunity to run the main PO in Westbury, I believe the revised details will be shown here:

https://runapostoffice.co.uk/home/result/show/westbury-post-office-westbury-ba13-3xw (https://runapostoffice.co.uk/home/result/show/westbury-post-office-westbury-ba13-3xw)


I understand that PO Ltd now intend to go visiting every shop in the town to ask if the owners may be interested.  Also, they want to talk in terms of a 2 counter plus local model, whatever that is ...

I am calling an emergency meeting of the town council's Post Office Task and Finish Group to discuss whether the town council should now decide that the time has arrived to step in and properly offer to run a new PO on the basis that no-one else is going to and the town needs us to step in and do it.  Having said that, it would by no means be straight forward due to the need to re-establish the town council with the legal right to run a business by getting several co-opted councillors to resign and running by-elections to establish at least two thirds of the councillors as elected rather than co-opted.

In reality, the annual cost would be relatively small as most costs are covered by the Post Office Ltd "fees" which are in reality a very small percentage of total turnover / takings via the PO counters.
Title: Re: Post Office
Post by: Shizzy on December 17, 2017, 19:25:51 PM
Not sure many of the town centre shops have space for two counters. Shocking that over a year after giving its notice the PO have achieved the square root of bugger all.
Title: Re: Post Office
Post by: baldy on December 17, 2017, 19:34:02 PM
I don't think any existing shop businesses have that much spare space at all, although a large shop like a supermarket could adapt its space if it wanted to.

Morrisons is the obvious target to ask, but they have specifically said no earlier this year. They see it as a straightforward loss of floorspace and not useful to their business.

I think the town council will have to lease one of the empty units and install the counters. PO Ltd does cover some of the costs of setting up when they accept a new franchisee.

I have spoken with one of the ladies who worked in the Co-Op PO unit recently and who has also run several POs elsewhere as manager (she now works in the Warminster PO inside WH Smith) and she is adamant that once open any main Westbury PO would find 2 counters inadequate so that it is overwhelmed a lot of the time. It needs 3 + counters. I think this very much will interest the town council.
Title: Re: Post Office
Post by: baldy on December 21, 2017, 17:07:23 PM
The town council's PO task and finish group today decided to continue to collect more information about the costs of setting up and running a new main PO in Westbury and also any options for helping an existing business to take on the role, though the latter idea is highly dependent on the legalities of subsidizing any business and this is something the town clerk is checking out before any progress on that is attempted.

We will be meeting with the PO Ltd representative in the New Year to explore all options more thoroughly.

I understand that PO Ltd is currently saying that several previously interested parties are now saying that they are interested in looking at the business opportunity in Westbury again, now they know that the main applicant that PO Ltd was working with has pulled out ....
Title: Re: Post Office
Post by: Dana Scully on December 22, 2017, 09:44:16 AM
Why cant a town this size have a dedicated PO instead of a couple of counters in the corner of a shop? the old Co operative bank shop is perfect, and to see it unused is terrible when we could have a bustling PO there, bringing more custom back into town, who makes these ridiculous rules?
Title: Re: Post Office
Post by: Al on December 22, 2017, 10:13:26 AM
ridiculous rules? which? that the town council shouldn't subsidise a private business? that the town council shouldn't loose money to provide a service for a private company? if it were a commercially viable venture it would have been picked up and run by someone by now. the people of the town does not support businesses in the town, not enough anyway.
Title: Re: Post Office
Post by: baldy on December 22, 2017, 12:03:07 PM
Al is right. The relevant issue is that PO Ltd and its network of POs and total business undertaken is all shrinking as less stamps are bought and less pensions withdrawn and less other financial transactions occur overall in post Offices. It is a shrinking business, although the folk that take ages to send parcels seem to be increasing and giving a misleading idea that business is increasing. In reality, the process of receiving parcels makes no money compared to the cost of employing people to handle it.

Post Office Ltd started its strategy of reducing the number of post offices, especially sub-POs, and asking other retailers to host a Post Office as a franchisee, during the 1990s.

Typically, the fees that PO Ltd will pay to a franchisee to run a PO is roughly about 75% of the total costs involved and it is calculated as a simple tiny fraction of the takings through the PO tills.  The franchisee is expected to try to recover the loss on running the PO through enticing the same customers to buy other goods and services in the same shop, which is why PO Ltd assumes that only an existing retailer is worth talking to ....
Title: Re: Post Office
Post by: Michael on December 22, 2017, 12:09:03 PM
ridiculous rules? which? that the town council shouldn't subsidise a private business?
And there in lies the answer a privatised PO, no longer a service to the public but a cash cow for investors. The Chief Exec £250.000. per annum, the Financial Director £215,000. per annum, and a board of Directors.
Another publicly owned business sold off to provide a less than adequate service.
Title: Re: Post Office
Post by: Dana Scully on December 24, 2017, 08:31:02 AM
I think it is ridiculous that a town this size, growing all the time, cannot have a small dedicated post office and has to have just a couple of counters at the back of a shop?or a library? or a café? This is what happens when you privatise everything, nothing is for the people any more, it is all for profit of greedy rich people.

Look at what we have had taken from us in recent years, a mninor injury unit, a working GP service, a hospital, a stroke unit, a specials needs dentist, a police station, a good post office in a central location, albeit in a shop,  but at least there were enough counters back then, the town is drowning under new homes, more to come, yet our infrastructure is so minimal is is barely there.
Title: Re: Post Office
Post by: DORIAN on December 29, 2017, 13:04:53 PM
i remember when everyone that had an interest in westbury, our home town, always resented the fact that money for improvement for our town was being spent elsewhere. Melksham, always a poor relation has come into the 21st century with really credible shops and a market place that at xmas is a sheer delight. Warminster, Devizes,Marlborough, Salisbury, all have their merits, but Westbury appears to be overlooked at every level.
we did not get the Sports Hub, we did not get road relief, we do not have a Post Office fit for purpose, although our town grows with more and more houses. As a result of these houses being built we have to endure a hideous new roundabout placing more traffic to brake, accelerate, brake causing massive vibration for the poor sods that have to live there.
we appear to bottom of any fiscal hand outs, and this has been the case for years....... any reasons why i ask myself, and is there any reason for me to keep my fingers crossed for any improvement in 2018
Happy New Year to all that still support this forum, or is this dying with other social media gadgetry ?
Title: Re: Post Office
Post by: baldy on March 30, 2018, 20:05:21 PM
I keep seeing comments that suggest no-one knows what is happening about progress towards a new PO in Westbury.

I chair a town council group that is looking into the matter and was dealing with a Post Office Ltd employee who handled the search and approval process. Unfortunately, that person left PO Ltd before Christmas and no-one seems to be available to talk to the town council at all now even though we have said that we might be interested in running a new PO if no-one else does (We cannot work any other way when using public finance ...).

My understanding is that the current position is that an existing business IS now proceeding with an application for a new PO with only 2 counters somewhere in Westbury. I sincerely hope it is in the town centre, but one of the suggested locations from one interested party was on the edge of the town. I don't know where the new location will be.
Title: Re: Post Office
Post by: Debs on April 09, 2018, 15:30:28 PM
I keep seeing comments that suggest no-one knows what is happening about progress towards a new PO in Westbury.

I chair a town council group that is looking into the matter and was dealing with a Post Office Ltd employee who handled the search and approval process. Unfortunately, that person left PO Ltd before Christmas and no-one seems to be available to talk to the town council at all now even though we have said that we might be interested in running a new PO if no-one else does (We cannot work any other way when using public finance ...).

My understanding is that the current position is that an existing business IS now proceeding with an application for a new PO with only 2 counters somewhere in Westbury. I sincerely hope it is in the town centre, but one of the suggested locations from one interested party was on the edge of the town. I don't know where the new location will be.

Thats good news . Lets hope it is in a more conveinent place this time.  Wonder if it 8s in the millhouse cafe opposite morrisons.. thwy have said on their fb page that they will be opening as something more useful.  So sounds good !
Title: Re: Post Office
Post by: Shizzy on July 26, 2018, 13:28:38 PM
Just read the WHN and seems there is no update on this and a bit of a mystery as to why the advert has disappeared from the Post Office website.
Title: Re: Post Office
Post by: DORIAN on July 26, 2018, 18:12:29 PM
we must be the largest population in the west without a post Office..... beggars belief
Title: Re: Post Office
Post by: Shizzy on August 13, 2018, 20:08:20 PM
Might be going into Peddy's then

http://www.wiltshiretimes.co.uk/news/latestheadlines/16413710.westbury-one-step-closer-to-having-a-post-office-again/