Campaigners are calling for Haworth Post Office to remain open, after plans were announced to move the branch to inside the new Co-Op supermarket.
The Post Office had initially earmarked the Haworth branch for closure on 27th July, but this has now been delayed until 27th September pending the outcome of a public consultation. The company wants to relocate services to inside the Co-Op on Station Road at the other end of the village, saying it would 'safeguard Post Office services to the local community in the longer term'.
In consultation documents, the Post Office says: "This branch has been operated on our behalf by a temporary operator. Whilst this has allowed us to maintain a Post Office services locally, we have continued to look for a more sustainable solution for customers served by Haworth and the previously closed Haworth Brow branch.
"We are now pleased to inform you that our retail partner, Co-op Group Food Ltd, has been appointed and would operate the Post Office service from their new premises in Haworth. If the move goes ahead this will replace both branches and would retain the name of Haworth Post Office. We have reviewed the customer usage in the local area, and we are confident the branch relocation to Station Road would continue to meet customer needs of the Haworth community. The proposed premises would incorporate a Co-op store and Haworth Post Office and would operate as one of our local style branches."
Local MP Robbie Moore has written directly to the Chief Executive of Post Office Limited stressing how the Haworth Post Office is a lifeline for the community as well as the many tourists who come to the village each year. He has also raised the matter in the House of Commons chamber and secured a meeting with the Minister for Regional Growth and Local Government, Luke Hall, off the back of it.
Mr Moore said: “Haworth Post Office provides a vital service for local residents and tourists and must remain where it is. I am deeply concerned to hear that the postmaster Sammy Ahmed has been served notice by the Post Office to cease trading. It is clear this has all been done without any prior consultation, as the Post Office only proceeded to launch their consultation after I had made contact with them expressing my dismay at the situation.
“The Post Office’s intention to relocate their services to the new Co-op on Station Road is clear – but their actions all seem like a shoddy back room deal in which they are now having to back track to ensure due process is followed. I have written to the CEO of the Post Office further expressing my concern and have taken this matter up with Ministers in Westminster.”
Local residents have set up a petition to save the Post Office too, saying the branch has been a 'lifeline' to customers during the pandemic and has helped many businesses and entrepreneurs grow their online businesses. They say it is too far - and down a steep hill - for elderly residents to go to the Co-Op, especially in inclement weather. They also say there will be no facility to change currency at the new Post Office for the million-plus tourists who visit Haworth each year.
The Post Office consultation about the branch is open until 27th August at postofficeviews.co.uk/national-consultation-team/haworth-bd22-8dp-301306