It wasn’t a great surprise, but it was still disappointing to see that our local Post Office is on the Northern Ireland list to be closed down.
Straddling Belmont Church Road and Campbell Park Avenue, the Belmont Post Office has a great situation. Update - and as John Self points out in a comment below, handy to the
Day to Day Mace and the Golden Crumb bakery. If it does close, we'll really miss it.
Sheila McCann from the Post Office explained on Good Morning Ulster that some of the branches slated for closure had less than twenty customers a day, even a week in some cases. Certainly not the case for the Belmont branch.
For the car-bound, it’s easy enough to
abandon your car park nearby and nip in. And it’s easy to walk to from the myriad of streets sandwiched in-between the Upper Newtownards Road and Belmont Road without having to cross a busy road.
The nearest alternatives are way down the Upper Newtownards Road inside the Spar shop at the BP Petrol Station near Jellybean, M&S and Kwit Fit (the Ballyhackamore branch) or else down on the Belmont Road in the Strandtown branch. Both of these are on busy roads, with
very limited heavily contended parking outside Strandtown, and are a lot more exposed if you have to walk to them in the winter weather. The branch on the Upper Newtownards Road at the Knock crossroads seems to have already closed. (Map now corrected.)
There’s now a six week consultation ... with details of how you can voice your opinion posted in the affected Post Offices. Pity they haven’t yet put the information up onto the Post Office website :(
You can see the full list of NI branches proposed for closure, which includes details of the rural branches to be replaced with an outreach (mobile) service.
Update - the Post Office website has now been updated with the NI Branch access reports describing the branches being closed and comparing them with the two nearest alternatives. Belmont is one of eleven branches which currently have 750+ customer sessions a week that are being closed down with business merging into similar sized (or larger) post offices within a mile or so.
Looks like by virtue of sitting in the middle of a triangle of Strandtown, Ballyhackamore and Cherryvalley (Kings Square) branches, Belmont is being targetted to close and help achieve the Post Office's required efficiency savings.
If the Belmont closure goes ahead, note that the Strandtown branch has a step up to the door, is closed over lunch between 1pm and 2pm, and has no pillar box for posting outside! Like Belmont, the Ballyhackamore branch has level access, opens identical hours (Mon-Fri 9am-5.30pm, Sat 9am-12.30pm), has a pillar box outside ... and also enjoys designated parking spaces on the petrol station forecourt.