PLANS to move post office services from a dedicated branch in Park South to a small newsagents have been criticised.

The Parks and East Walcot Community Forum compared the proposed move from Cavendish Square to a Premier shop round the corner on Whitbourne Avenue to ‘putting a pint into a half-pint’.

The Post Office cited the end of a temporary postmaster’s contract as the reason for the move and hope longer opening hours will please customers.

Community group secretary Martin Wicks said: “This proposal is absurd. You would struggle to find a smaller shop in which to try to put a post office counter.

“There is not much room for the current customers in the newsagents, never mind a queue for two post office counter positions.

“The current premises provide ample room for the users, even when there is a long queue at busy times. That cannot be said for the proposed premises.

“I think the proposal has all the hallmarks of cost-cutting and it seems likely to us that the Post Office wants to cut the commission it is paying.

“The community forum is opposed to this proposed change. Moving it into a tiny shop is guaranteed to worsen the service.

“The current postmaster wants to continue to provide the service and they are collecting signatures for a petition. Most local people we have heard from think the proposal does not make sense.

“Although there will be much justified scepticism about the nature of the consultation, it is important for users of the service to tell the Post Office if they are opposed to this change.”

South Swindon MP Robert Buckland, who said: “I have been in touch with the Post Office after several local residents contacted me to raise concerns over the relocation of the branch in Whitbourne Avenue.

“The current arrangements at Unit 3 are only temporary, so Unit 5 would be a more permanent arrangement, with services including posting, banking and bill payments remaining unchanged.

“However, there is concern that the shop is small, so there may be queues outside of the door during busy periods.

“If you have concerns about the changes, please get in touch with me by ringing my office on 01793 533393 or emailing"

The current Post Office will close on Saturday July 27 at 4.30pm before reopening at the new premises on Monday July 29 at 1pm.

Its opening hours will extend from 6am to 5.30pm Monday to Saturday and 7am to 12pm on Sundays.

A public consultation on the decision to move the branch will last until Tuesday July 2.

A Post Office spokeswoman said: “It would a new-style local branch with services provided from two open-plan counters alongside the retail counter.

“There would be an extra 21 hours and 30 minutes of service a week. These changes would make it far more convenient for customers to visit.

“The Post Office is now inviting customers and interested parties to give comments on the move in a public consultation and we are looking for feedback about accessibility, local community issues and anything that we can do to make life easier for our customers.

“Submissions can also be made by email at, by post to Freepost ‘YOUR COMMENTS’ or by telephone on 03452 660115.”