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Last Updated: Thursday, 19 April 2007, 14:26 GMT 15:26 UK
Main post offices set for switch
WH Smith store
Eleven main post offices in Scotland will move to WH Smith stores
A total of 11 main post offices across Scotland have been earmarked to move into nearby WH Smith stores.

Sites in Aberdeen, Ayr, Dalkeith, Fort William, Galashiels, Glasgow, Glenrothes, Greenock, Kirkintilloch, St Andrews and Stirling have been chosen.

The Post Office said the partnership agreement would allow it to provide its services in a "sustainable way".

Consultation on the plans is set to start by July, with the proposed moves completed by autumn 2008.

The post offices are all main Crown offices in the towns concerned.

This partnership means we will not be withdrawing services from locations which could otherwise risk losing their main post office
Alan Cook
Post Office managing director

The Bothwell Street office would be affected in Glasgow, along with Nicolson Street in Greenock and St Nicholas in Aberdeen.

Post Office managing director Alan Cook said it was the right way forward for the business.

"Our job is to provide the post office branches our customers want and use, and to do so in a sustainable way.

"We are now in a position to make a long-term commitment to safeguard main post offices on high streets and in shopping centres."

The post office will continue to operate 373 Crown offices across the UK, with 76 branches transferring to WH Smith stores.

"These branches will remain as main post offices offering the same range of over 170 products and services as available in all Crown post offices," said Mr Cook.

This is a major change which has serious implications for employees and customers
Michael Moore MP

"We can now start to put the Crown office network on a sound financial footing, after many years of heavy losses.

"Crucially, this partnership is about keeping main post office branches open and avoiding the need for closures."

Lib Dem MP Michael Moore has expressed concern about the plans which will affect Galashiels in his constituency.

"This is a major change which has serious implications for employees and customers," he said.

"We need to know much more about what the Post Office is planning and what WH Smith will offer."

He said he would be seeking an early meeting with Mr Cook to clarify job options for the staff concerned.

The Post Office has said there will be opportunities for workers to move to the new branches or seek employment elsewhere in the Royal Mail Group.

Customer views

Voluntary redundancy will also be offered if requested.

Mr Cook said that customer views would be taken on board over the plans.

"This partnership means we will not be withdrawing services from locations which could otherwise risk losing their main post office," he said.

"We are keen to understand our customers' views, and any concerns about services, opening hours and accessibility they may have, so that we can offer the best possible service in our new premises."

WH Smith said that there was a "natural fit" between its brand and the post office which had been demonstrated by a pilot scheme in six stores.

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