End of the line for Post Office queues?

5/8/12    Jean Winterburn (left) and Jo Murray who work in the postoffice at the One Stop Shop in Crab lane , Bilton, Harrogate , which will have longer opening hours.
5/8/12 Jean Winterburn (left) and Jo Murray who work in the postoffice at the One Stop Shop in Crab lane , Bilton, Harrogate , which will have longer opening hours.

Queuing at the Post Office could soon be a thing of the past, with extended opening hours at one Harrogate branch.

Bilton Post Office, on Crab Lane, is to change its hours to fit in with its customers, opening from 6am to 10pm, every day except Christmas Day.

The branch is to become one of the Post Office’s ‘new-style’ stores, to be re-launched in September with a new look.

“It will be good for the whole community,” said Jean Winterburn, who has worked at the One-Stop shop for 13 years, running the Post Office for the past six.

“Some of our regular customers have been a bit worried about the changes. The one thing to remember is that we’re not closing. It will be the same people, the same faces. It’s really just moving from one end of the shop to the other.”

The store will close for a few days from September 6 to 14, undergoing a makeover before re-opening as one of the ‘new-style’ branches. The idea is that people who struggle to get to the Post Office during traditional working hours will now be able to make use of its services.

“We are a busy little Post Office, especially on pension days,” said Mrs Winterburn.

“People come here to pay their gas and electricity bills, they don’t have to travel all the way into town.

“It’s the convenience of coming here that makes it so popular. It’s been a big part of the community for a long time.”

Mrs Winterburn, who turns 59 this month, started at the Post Office doing holiday cover, but now runs the counter with the help of colleague Jo Murray, who has worked there for four years.

“It really is a part of the community,” said Mrs Winterburn, who lives in Bilton and is grandmother to seven-year-old Millie and four-year-old William. “I’ve seen mothers coming in with babies, now those babies are in secondary school or starting work.

“We’ve got our regulars, and I’m sure they will feel the benefits of the changes.”

Harrogate and Knaresborough MP, Andrew Jones, said it was great news for the whole community: “There was a time when the only news we heard was of Post Office closures, but this seems to have changed.

“This announcement coming hot on the heels of the reopening of Bilton Library is a real boost for the community.”