RINGWOOD Town Council has said that a proposal to reopen a Post Office service in the town’s council building will “not be pursued further”.

A report by the policy and finance committee considered the possible use of the council’s Ringwood Gateway building as a Post Office branch and asked for direction as to whether this should be further investigated.

The report, by town clerk Chris Wilkins, said: “Although Post Office branches remain in Ringwood (at Parsonage Barn Lane and Butlers’ Lane, Poulner) the absence of an office in the town centre is likely to be or become a very real inconvenience to many businesses and residents and to contribute to the decline of the town centre over time.

“It is therefore entirely fitting for members to consider if the Town Council could act itself to fill need.

“Using the Gateway for this purpose, however, would require the agreement of New Forest District Council and Hampshire County Council as well.”

In August, following the closure of the McColl’s newsagent site in Southampton Road, a Post Office representative said that the year-long search for a potential new postmaster had failed.

While suggesting the Gateway building as a potential new site, the report also stated: “It is rather troubling from a financial standpoint that Post Office was unable to interest any other business in the town centre.

“If the opportunity is unattractive to other retailers (for whom the footfall might be valuable) it seems likely to be even more expensive for the Council to sustain.”

Salisbury Journal: Ringwood's Post Office branch in Southampton Road before and after closure.Ringwood's Post Office branch in Southampton Road before and after closure.

Council members at the full policy and finance meeting considered the town clerk’s report, however stated that their collective preference was that the proposal “not be pursued further”.

A spokesperson said: “Although increased footfall from a post office could complement and benefit a commercial business, it was difficult to see how this could accompany the service provided at the Gateway, given the nature of the councils’ business.

“The set-up costs in terms of facilities and staffing levels would be significant and ongoing costs were unlikely to be recoverable or offset by increased sales, for example.

“There was little storage space available at the Gateway, which would be essential, and it was felt that the demands of a post office would have a detrimental impact on the current services provided.”


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