A PROPOSAL to move a town’s Post Office into a convenience store has prompted concerns about accessibility.

The consultation over plans to relocate Crook Post Office into Crook Premier onto East Bridge Street runs until November 10. The distance from its current home in the Crook Business Centre car park in New Road to the shop is 550 metres and customers will benefit from extended opening hours.

However, some disabled residents are worried they will struggle to access the Post Office as they cannot manage the walk over varied terrain across the Market Place. They would also have to take two bus journeys to disembark closer to the shop.

Businesses also fear there will be parking issues on the A590 highway, noting that many people arrive at the Post Office at the end of the working day at the same time with their post and parcels.

Nearby residents, meanwhile, say they already struggle to park outside their homes and the arrival of the Post Office make it worse.

Concerns over the size of the shop and that the service will be reduced, despite extended opening hours, have also been cited.

Cllr Andrea Patterson and North West Durham MP Laura Pidcock are aware of the strength of feeling surrounding the issue and are holding a drop in meeting at St Catherine’s Community Centre in Crook on Saturday, October 14, from 4pm to 5pm.

Councillor Patterson said many residents felt a decision had already been made as the agent and premises had already been appointed.

“Public opinion and residents’ needs should count and should form part of the decision making process in advance,” she added.

Miss Pidcock added: “It is of great concern that so many residents are worried about the new location and the impact it will have on their lives. Some elderly residents have voiced concerns about collecting their pensions, whilst some mothers have commented on not being able to get their buggies around the store.”

A Post Office spokesperson said all views were welcome, adding: “Crook Post Office is currently operated at a temporary premises by a temporary agent following the former postmaster’s resignation and previous premises being withdrawn for Post Office use. We have been working hard to identify a permanent solution for Post Office customers in Crook as the current temporary site will also be unavailable for use in the near future. It is important that any future service is sustainable.”

Responses can be sent to Freepost YOUR COMMENTS Post Office Ltd, via email to comments@postoffice.co.uk, or by calling 03457-223344 or Textphone 03457-223355.