Chester-le-Street Heritage Group
Plans to close the town’s Crown Post Office have been scrapped, so there will be no relocation to the North Burns area.
Public and Staff Consultations.
Following Public Consultations in October and November last year along with analysing the costs of transferring to the new address it was decided that the rental costs would mean a significant increase and therefore made the move unsustainable, so it will be staying at 137, Front Street, for the foreseeable future.
The planned transfer was very unpopular with many customers and the news has been welcomed by Kevin Jones MP. But, it has been warned that Post Office Managers may revisit this proposal again in the future.
The General Manager of the Post Office Crown Network confirmed that they were withdrawing the proposal to move the Post Office to the North Burns area, so Chester-le-Street Post Office will retain its current location and will continue to be operated directly by Post Office Ltd..
The Post Office is particularly busy on Wednesday’s and Saturday’s and the
proposal to move to the North Burns area next to a very busy junction, away
from the rest of the shops in the heart of the town was considered impractical.
The proposed move to switch services to franchised operations was opposed by
Residents of the town and by the CWU (Communications Workers Union)
with concerns being expressed about the facilities at the new location and the
loss of experienced Post Office staff.
The counter services would have moved to a convenience store setup and
managed by Northern Retail CLS Ltd., in conjunction with Nisa Retail Ltd..
Post Office Plaque reinstated.
Post Office News - Proposed Move Scrapped
The Post Office Building.
The good news is that the Post Office Building will remain the way it is, as there was some concern that the building could be demolished or structurally altered to accommodate a private retail business or housing.
The building in the art deco style was officially opened on Wednesday 16th September, at 2.30 p.m. 1936, by Councillor Gilbert Robson, J.P. Chairman of the Chester-le-Street U.D.C. who was presented with a silver key by the builder H. F. Mole, a local building contractor.
On the day of opening there were a number of ‘firsts’. Namely - The first 1d stamp was purchased by Councillor Robson. The first halfpenny stamp by Mrs. J. Lawson, the first penny halfpenny stamp by Mr. William Ridley Sen. The first 1d stamp from machine outside Post Office by Miss Ann Morrison 1936 Carnival Queen. The first letter was posted by Mr. F. Gray. The first telegram was sent by Councillor Robson to the Post Master General. The first Postal Order was bought by Mr. J. Carter the Secretary of the Chamber of Trade. The first halfpenny stamp from the machine bought by Mrs. Councillor Bruce.
The building, which is situated at the South end of the Front Street on the West side, is unique by virtue of the fact that the building is believed to be only one of five in the Country that displays the Royal cipher of Edward VIII, an uncrowned King.
The cipher can be seen on the front of the building at the top of the long narrow window frame above the entrance.
King Edward VIII cipher and the date 1936
13, North Burns
Post Office Plaque Found
Further good news is that the Heritage Trail Post Office Plaque has been found and has now been reinstated in its original location on the exterior wall.
For more information on the Post Office Plaque and the town’s Heritage Trail, please click on this button:
Display of Photos & Information.
History of the Post Office Exhibition.
The Heritage Group have provided a small exhibition of old photographs and information about the history of the Post Office in the waiting area.
This was produced in view of the Post Office moving from its present location to the North Burns area of the town. Thankfully, this proposal has be scrapped, but this display will be available for a few more weeks.
CLICK for larger view