3:55pm Thursday 5th June 2008
By Mel Vasey
ANYONE who has nipped into Otley's main Nelson Street Post Office during a lunch break will know just how busy it can get.
And any resident or visitor to Otley town centre will also be only too aware of the serious lack of available parking near the branch, with double yellow lines running along Nelson Street itself and the nearby car park always full before 9am on weekdays.
So the prospect of having a thousand or more extra people suddenly visiting the PO every week - due to the proposed closure of their local branches in Bramhope and on Weston Lane, Otley - is one Otley Town Council is understandably not relishing. Indeed, Branch Access Report figures show that Bramhope PO currently has up to 499 customer visits a week, while for Newall PO, on Weston Lane, that number rises to 749.
Agreeing on a resolution opposing the Newall branch closure on Monday, the town council rightly questioned whether the Nelson Street PO would actually be able to cope with such a dramatic increase in business.
On top of all the other, obvious reasons (eg they are well used, provide a valuable social service, are within walking distance for most of their customers, etc) for retaining both Newall and Bramhope branches, this point surely also has to be seriously addressed by Post Office Ltd.
Councillors have demanded to see what evidence the company has to prove that Nelson Street will be able to handle up to 1,250 additional customers each week.
The response they receive, as we enter the crucial last few weeks of the consultation period that will decide both of the other branches' futures, will be fascinating to behold - and gone over with a fine-tooth comb by all those desperate to keep all our local POs up and running.
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