'It will be a nightmare': Petition calls on Post Office to reject relocation plans (From Times Series)
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'It will be a nightmare': Petition calls on Post Office to reject East Finchley relocation plans
Disabled people and parents have warned access is "a major issue" in plans to relocate East Finchley post office.
The Post Office is consulting residents on its plans to move the East Finchley branch in Viceroy Parade, to Universal Office Equipment in High Road.
Opening hours would be extended by 14.5 hours every week under the new plans, but some residents are not happy with access to the proposed site, which would be up three steps, with a handrail and a platform lift inside the store.
Rachel McKenna, who has a nine-month-old daughter called Chyna, said: “Access will be a problem. It will be a nightmare for me.
“A lot of people use the post office in East Finchley, which also means there will be queues throughout the shop if the plans go ahead."
More than 180 people have signed a petition claiming the proposed relocation would lead to “significantly worse" access as well as longer waiting times and fewer local jobs.
Gerard Sagar, 51, who lives in Park Hall Road, said: “We don’t want to lose our post office which is a mark of a proper suburban town centre.
“Access is also a major issue for people with wheelchairs and buggies, as well as people who aren’t that nimble but don’t want to walk with a stick or frame."
Sarah Sackman, Labour's Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Finchley and Golders Green, helped launch the petition last weekend.
Speaking to the Times Series, she said: “The message we’re getting loud and clear is that East Finchley needs access to a full service post office. This means a post office which puts people first, with services at the front of the shop, which does not require a person with a disability to get on a lift to use its facilities. We need equal access for all members of our community.
“Traders are also worried that the difficulties in accessing a full service post office in the right place will affect their businesses.
“We want there to be a viable, sustainable future for the post office on this high road.”
A Post Office spokesman said: “Access to the main Post Office area would be via three steps with a handrail and a customer platform lift. Customer platform lifts are widely used in retail outlets and are designed to be fully accessible for wheelchair, prams and pushchairs.
“If for any reason customers were unable to use the lift and require use of the main Post Office counter for a high value transaction, alternative arrangements would be put in place to enable them to access the full range of services.
“The existing steps at the entrance to the premises would also be removed and a sloping internal ramp and automatic door would be installed to give ease of access for wheelchair users and those with mobility issues.
“As we have stressed throughout this process, no decisions will be made until the end of the consultation period. All issues raised during that engagement process will be seriously considered alongside any other points made during the consultation.”
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