Harrogate's central Post Office reopens today, Thursday in its new premises after a controversial relocation.
But there is good news for customers - contrary to fears, passport services will be available from its counters on the first floor of WH Smith.
Despite a campaign by the town’s MP and community groups to stop the move, the relocation to Victoria Shopping Centre from its long-standing home at Cambridge Road was confirmed by the Post Office earlier in the year as part a similar plan for 40 branches across the UK.
The new Post Office is located on the first floor of the stationery store at Victoria Shopping Centre and will open at 9am today, Thursday, May 16.
Ready to open: Harrogate's new Post Office
In the run-up to the move, Harrogate and Knaresborough MP Andrew Jones raised the issue in Westminster, saying he was worried about accessibilty and services at the new location. But the Post Office is confident the new set-up will be a success.
It says the move means extra opening hours for Harrogate customers.
Now operated by staff within WHSmith, the new Harrogate branch is described as “modern” and “open plan” with six serving positions and three self-service kiosks.
Harrogate: Passport services
Despite fears the town was about to lose its passport service, it has now been confirmed this is not the case.
Michael Norman, the Post Office’s press officer, said: “The new branch will provide the same wide range of services during longer opening hours as the existing branch with the exception of a cash machine - this includes passport checking.”
Harrogate: What the Post Office boss says
Roger Gale, network and sales director for the Post Office, said the same, wide range of products and services will be available - with the exception of a cash machine, although it will be offering customers access to their usual high street bank account.
He said the vast majority of the UK’s 11,600 Post Office branches were successfully operated with retail partners such as WH Smith.
Harrogate's new Post Office: Factfile
Location: WH Smith (first floor), Victoria Shopping Centre, Cambridge Street.
Set-up: The new branch will be operated by WHSmith Ltd, who have successfully operated Post Office branches for a number of years. There will be six serving positions and three self-service kiosks.
Opening times: Services will be available from 09:00 to 17:30 Monday – Saturday and 10:30 to 14:30 on Sundays.