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New Rochester post office to open at S&J News convenience store in High Street

A new town centre post office opens at the beginning of next month with 16 hours a week extra serving times, including Sundays.

The current operators at Payden’s chemist in Rochester will be withdrawing as of 1pm on Thursday, November 30 and a new service is being launched just along the High Street at S&J News from Friday, December 4 at 1pm.

Ritesh, who runs A&J News in Rochester - home to the new post office
Ritesh, who runs A&J News in Rochester - home to the new post office

Meanwhile, the nearest alternative branch is at North Street, Strood.

Initially, a temporary service will be set up at the convenience store and newsagent at the junction of Star Hill with one counter until the shop is fully refurbished early next year.

It will include wheelchair access and there’s a pay and display car park opposite Almon Place.

All the usual range of products and services will be available including home shopping returns, vehicle tax, bill payments, mobile top-ups and foreign currency,

Passport check and send and on-demand travel insurance are excluded.

Bosses at the Post Office have been looking for a site in the town ever since the pharmacy announced in January that it was pulling out.

Town centre forum chairwoman Sarah Tranter said: “We’re absolutely delighted to let you know and congratulate Ritesh of S&J News 190-192 High Street Rochester - at the Star Hill end, who will be hosting our new Post Office from December 4.

S&J News - where the new Rochester post office will open next month
S&J News - where the new Rochester post office will open next month

It will be a ‘counter on wheels’ for the first three weeks. The full counter should be up and running from January 3.

“The forum is really pleased as it should help re-invigorate the Eastgate Quarter after the loss of the old station and Post Office years ago.

Medway Council’s Labour group set up a petition for the service to remain in Rochester, suggesting the council-run library or visitors information centre could provide an alternative.

Kelly Tolhurst, MP for Rochester and Strood, has also played a key role in ensuring the facility remained in the town.

Miss Tolhurst said when the major high street banks made controversial decisions to close, management used it as "an excuse" that the post office would provide an alternative to bank users preferring face-to-face service.

The former Minister for Postal Affairs initially appealed for a community organisation or trader to come forward and take on the "massively important" role.

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