Lisburn Road Post Office in Belfast may close
A local councillor has raised concerns that a well-used Post Office may have to close or relocate.
The Lisburn Road used to have three Post Offices, one at Donnybrook Street, one at the bottom of the Malone Park and the one now possibly to close at the Co-Op.
Cllr Claire Hanna said it was worrying news for users of the Post Office including "practically everybody - on the heavily-populated Lisburn and Malone Roads" and particularly elderly people buying stamps, paying car tax, or lifting their pensions.
Cllr Hanna said: "I have received information that within the next month the Co-operative Store on the Lisburn Road will be sold to the multinational, Marks & Spencer plc. I am told, and am glad to hear, that Co-Op employees in the store have been given assurances as to the security of their future employment, should the sale go ahead, under TUPE (The Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006).
"I have contacted the Post Office/Royal Mail to see if this information is correct and if so intend to make strong representations to prevent the loss of customer service and amenity.
"Though other premises are available on the Lisburn Road, this site is suitable from a parking and accessibility point of view."
She believes other issues, including the transfer of the alcohol licence from the M&S store have yet to be resolved. "While ... many customers will welcome new shopping options, the potential loss of the Post Office amenity is too important a matter to be made solely in a board room far from the community this facility serves."
A spokesperson from the Post Office said that this development came as a surprise.
"A government proposal guarantees no more closures will take place until 2015.
"Funding lasts up until then and enables us to have a stable network.
"The plan is to replace the Post Office as quickly as possible as close to the current location.
"We are investigating who would be willing to do so."
They said that until such times as that occurred the Post Office's job was to make sure service inside the Co-Op wasn't disrupted.
They added that they were unsure of the timescale involved in this matter but were "actively" seeking where a new Post Office could be set up in the area.