Council backs campaign opposing downgrade of Harrogate's main post office

Harrogate Borough Council has thrown their weight behind a campaign opposing plans to downgrade Harrogates Crown Post Office to a concession at WHSmith.
Harrogate Borough Council has thrown their weight behind a campaign opposing plans to downgrade Harrogates Crown Post Office to a concession at WHSmith.

Harrogate Borough Council has thrown their weight behind a campaign opposing plans to downgrade Harrogate’s Crown Post Office to a concession at WHSmith.

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Leader Richard Cooper and Deputy Leader Graham Swift announced on Monday that they had tabled a special motion to debate plans to move the post office from its current location on Cambridge Road.

In a further effort to save the post office, the council will write to the chief executives of Post Office Ltd and WHSmith advising them of the borough’s opposition to the proposal.

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The council will also actively encourage partners to oppose the plans by lodging feedback during the Post Office’s consultation period.

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In a statement, Coun Cooper called the plans a “kick in the teeth” for Harrogate residents.

“To downgrade that established and well-used Crown Post Office to a franchise on the first floor of WHSmith would be a bit of a kick in the teeth for Harrogate people who have loyally supported the post office in the decades it has been on Cambridge Road,” Coun Cooper said.

As elected representative of Harrogate Central ward, which includes the town centre, Coun Cooper said he knew how much value the current post office offered residents.

“I want the Post Office to think again and drop the plans,” he said.

The proposal is part of a national plan to relocate 40 post offices to WHSmith across the country.

The plans caused outrage among the Harrogate community, with local MP Andrew Jones condemning the proposal in Westminster Hall earlier this month.

The special motion debate will take place at the next scheduled council meeting on Wednesday December 5.

Consultation runs until December 19. To meet that deadline the Mayor has decided that the motion will be debated on the day, rather than deferred for a report to a future meeting as is usual practice.

By Lachlan Leeming, Local Democracy Reporter