Published: 12:40, 11 January 2017
Tonbridge Post Office in Angel Walk is set to close.
The Post Office today announced that following a six-week public consultation, the branch will close on Wednesday, March 8.
It will move to the WHSmith store on the High Street, opening on Thursday, March 9.
The new branch will have five counter positions and three self-service kiosks, with opening hours from 9am to 5.30pm Monday to Saturday.
The news has been met with sadness from local MP, Tom Tugendhat.
The Tonbridge and Malling MP has written a letter to Roger Gale, the general manager for the Post Office, which has been shared with the Kent Messenger.
He writes: "I am deeply disappointed that you have opted to go ahead with your proposal to move the Post Office in Tonbridge to the back of WHSmith."
The MP alleges that ninety-nine percent of local residents objected to the plans.
He added: "This is a decision which is clearly not in the best interests of the town, and local people in particular."
Mr Tugendhat also remarks that previous correspondence between himself and Mr Gale had included comments from local residents, and questions about the role of the Post Office in Tonbridge.
He writes: "I specifically asked for your comments on the thoughts raised in the letter and am disappointed that you thought each of these points had previously been addressed adequately.
"It is clear to Tonbridge residents that this was not the case."
There are also questions raised about the WHSmith store the branch will be relocated to.
Mr Tugendhat asked whether the aisle widths would be altered to accommodate disabled customers accessing the back of the store, and whether the pavement outside the store would be changed for the same reason.
He also questioned Mr Gale on access to car parks and potential illegal parking on double yellow lines outside the store, as well as facilities inside the branch for elderly people.
His letter concludes: "This move is a backwards step for our town at a moment when more independent retailers are opening up and more shops and services are looking to invest in our town.
"It is sad the Post Office wishes to be different."
Roger Gale, Post Office's sales and trade marketing director, said: "Our customers’ needs continue to change and we are responding to that, taking the right action to sustain our services for years to come.
"We are committed to remaining on high streets and at the heart of communities and we are making changes right across our network to enable us to do so."
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