**Update on 18/11/17:
One of our committee members has spoken to the family who runs the convenience store at 7 Ridgeway Parade and they would be happy to operate the Post Office when the Co-op store closes at 1 Ridgeway Parade. This would help to provide for all the local customers who would not find it easy to reach the Co-op store on Aldershot Road, and would help to retain the viability of the Ridgeway Parade itself. In fact this store operated as the Post Office before that role was taken on by Co-op a few years ago. If you like the sound of this option, please do mention it in your consultation response (or respond a second time if you have already sent in your response).
We have also had reports that the Co-op store at 1 Ridgeway Parade is operating a very erratic service at their Post Office Counter at the moment. Customers are turning up to find the Post Office counter closed, even when the store is open, because there is no member of staff trained to operate it. This is a very poor situation for customers, especially in the run up to Christmas. We do hope that the Co-op is not using this as a strategy to persuade customers to visit their other store. **
The Fleet & Church Crookham Society is very disturbed to learn that the Post Office is consulting on a proposal to close the Post Office branch in the Co-op store at Ridgeway Parade, The Verne, and move it to the new Co-op on Aldershot Road. The Co-op Store on Ridgeway Parade itself is expected to close too, although that is not part of the Post Office consultation.
Our concern is that this takes the post office away from a much-used row of shops to a more remote location. A walk to the new Co-op will necessitate a steep climb from the more densely populated area around Ridgeway Parade, and the crossing of the very busy and fast Aldershot Road, with no pedestrian crossing. The car access is almost opposite the Verne T-junction with Aldershot Road, making this much more risky for drivers as well.
The Post Office is conducting a consultation on this proposal until 5 December. If, like us, you feel this is an ill-advised and unsuitable relocation, please reply to the consultation at https://www.postofficeviews.co.uk/liveconsultation.php (search on branch location “Church Crookham”). There is a link to a letter detailing the changes and to an online consultation form. The form asks two questions, followed by some demographic questions about you.
In the first question “Please write below any feedback or general comments you would like to make about the proposed change” you might like to comment on the fact that that the proposed location (on the Aldershot Road) is a busy road with no safe pedestrian crossing. The car access is almost opposite The Verne T-junction with Aldershot Road, making access risky for drivers. The bus route mentioned in the consultation in fact only operates in one direction, with a return trip of more than 90 minutes.
For the second question “Are there any other local community issues which you believe could be affected by or affect the proposed change” you might like to comment on:
1) In the consultation it describes the route between the Ridgeway Parade and new location as being “480 metres…along varied terrain” – in fact walking between the two involves a substantial uphill walk. In the current location, the branch is near a large number of older people who need to access Post Office services: nearby are the social housing blocks at Curtis Court, Dudley Court and Jean Orr Court, a total of 60 flats, all within level walking distance. There are also many other older local residents in their own bungalows and houses nearby.
2) The current location of the PO branch provides an anchor point for the Ridgeway Parade. This provides a community service by offering a varied range of independent retail outlets and the proposed relocation threatens the viability of the whole parade.
You will, of course, have other comments to add, based on your personal experience.