It’s all change in South Harting as the much-loved Post Office closes today (Thursday, July 28)) and a new-look service opens at Harting Stores.
At the same time postmistress Trish Walker and her husband are applying for permission to change the use of the post office which they own, to a family home.
There will be a grand opening ceremony of the new Post Office Local Plus service in Harting Stores on Monday to be performed by Mrs Walker, who has been post mistress in Harting for the past 20 years.
She will share the honours with Ceil ‘Laurie’ Lawrence who was awarded the Legion d’Honneur earlier this year for his part in the liberation of France during the second world war.
Peter Cragg, manager of Harting Stores, said: “It might take everything a little while to settle down, but rest assured that we will do our utmost to provide excellent customer service, in the same way that Trish has been doing for many years.”
A face lift of the shop has included new electrics as well as a new shop and Post Office counter where there will be full Post Office services.
The decision to close the current Post Office was taken following public consultation as part of the Post Office’s network transformation programme.
In a letter to Harting villagers, Trish Walker said: “It is hugely important that we all support this change wholeheartedly.”
Applying for planning permission to change the use of the post office to a private home, Mr and Mrs Walker told the South Downs National Park Authority during the transformation programme Post Offices needed to fulfil certain criteria regarding sales in their retail side of the business. “If these could not be fulfilled, Post Office Limited would look for an alternative site within half a mile and appoint a new sub-postmaster. Unfortunately, Harting Post Office was unable to fulfil this criteria, as the retail side was limited by space.”
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