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WH Smith departure sparks post office fears
3:30pm Wednesday 26th September 2012 in News
THERE are fears Grays will be left without its main post office after WH Smith revealed it is closing its town centre branch.
The book store, located inside Grays Shopping Centre, is a key retailer in the town centre as well as being home to the town’s biggest post office.
WH Smith said this week it would be shutting its branch in March, but hasn’t ruled out coming back to the town in the future.
A spokesman said: “We can confirm our store in Grays will close in March 2013.
“A decision has been taken for commercial reasons, following the lease expiring.
“We remain committed to the town and should a suitable alternative location become available we would look into this.”
The Post Office was unable to confirm what would happen to its town centre branch, but shoppers fear it may not be replaced.
However, Grays Shopping Centre manager Keith Evans said it would not let WH Smith and the Post Office go without a fight and negotiations were continuing.
He said: “We are very sorry that it has come to this, but negotiations with WH Smith and the Post Office are taking place.
“We’ve got six months and we hope we can convince them to stay where they are or relocate to a smaller unit. There is a raft of people working behind the scenes to make this happen.
“The post office, especially, is just too important to the town.”
The post office within the shopping centre has several counters and also offers a bureau de change. There are always long queues for its services.
If it goes and is not replaced, residents in Grays will only have one option for their post office services, the much smaller Mistry Newsagents, in Blackshots Lane.
The next nearest post office is in Chadwell St Mary.
One shopper, who did not want to be named, said: “People will be really angry if this post office isn’t replaced, it’s really popular and is always busy.
“Grays is just too big not to have a proper post office. Where will we all go now?
“It’s another big retailer moving out of Grays too.”
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