YP Letters: Your say on the future of our high streets – listen to the people over post offices

From: Diane Haigh, Scalby Mills Road, Scarborough.

Shoppers in Hull in January. Picture: James Hardisty

LIKE many of your readers, I am very concerned – and confused – about the reasoning behind the current round of proposed Post Office closures which includes those in York and Scarborough (The Yorkshire Post, January 29).

The main branch in my town, Scarborough, has very good disabled access and is well used, but is now threatened with closure and a subsequent transfer to WH Smith.

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The reason given for this move is that the WH Smith store can provide better facilities for disabled access, which I find incomprehensible as the store is already very crowded indeed and is on two floors.

I can understand WH Smith welcoming the Post Office income, but wonder what will happen if their town centre stores go the way of many ‘‘high street legends’’ and start to close?

It all seems to be a short-term money saving strategy on the part of the Post Office, but one without any vision. I fervently hope that the voice of local people is heard as very many are against this move.

From: Chris Chester, Tower Lane, Fulwood, Preston.

I WAS most interested in your articles about the high street and in Kate Hardcastle’s essay (The Yorkshire Post, January 26).

Perhaps the major chain stores could try a new strategy – sell goods that people want to buy.

The customer does not want choice; the customer wants what the customer wants. Eighty per cent of the nation’s wealth is held by people over 50, who have raised their children, paid off their mortgages, now have disposable income and want to buy quality.

Shopping in Leeds is especially painful. As you reported, some 60 per cent of all men’s suits were made in Leeds. Now try buying a British-made suit in the city. My parents, born and raised in Barnsley, would tear their hair out in despair shopping in Leeds these days.

The only solution is to buy British online. All hail to HebTroCo, trouser makers of Hebden Bridge, to BaaRamEwe for their Yorkshire socks and wool, and to the worsted cloth makers in Leeds who persevere regardless.

Ms Hardcastle’s point is well made. Far too often, shops and cafes may be still open physically after 4pm but the staff have switched off mentally. Retail is about personal service as much as material service. As the old song has it – “everything stops for tea”. Pity nothing seems to start again after tea.

Good luck with your campaign!

From: Jerry Diccox, Main Street, Darley.

THERE’S been a lot written in these pages about the state of our high streets, and rightly so, as it is an issue of great, and growing, concern.

I have two points to make. Firstly, why on earth has planning permission been granted for a new retail development at Scotch Corner, which boasts of being the “fifth largest in the UK”?

Haven’t we learnt the lesson yet that these awful places, remnants of misplaced planning policies dating back to the late 1980s, suck the life out of high streets for miles around?

Many of those people “worrying” about the demise of the high street will be gleefully buying everything from Amazon, conveniently ignoring the consequences.

And my final point is something that has struck me time again – what passes for customer service in many cases.

No company gets my repeat business, no matter whether they are a pub selling my favourite beer, a barbers or a broadband company, if they can’t be bothered to make me feel like a valued customer.

It’s an extraordinary attitude to have in any business, but it seems to be quite common and I won’t be sad to see those particular businesses close down.

From: Miss JE Ella, Thorndale Croft, Wetwang, Driffield.

WHEN NatWest closed in Driffield and Pocklington last year, I decided not to move my account to another bank in case the same thing happened again. Unfortunately, this has come about through Santander.

I now do everything through the Post Office. The thing that really infuriates me is that today nearly all banks, organisations, polls and surveys assume that everyone in the country has both a computer and smartphone with which to conduct their business. They need to understand that many millions in the country do not have the financial resources to own, or run, either. This major fact in itself will isolate people more and more in the future.

From: Cecil Ridley, Hillcrest Avenue, Scarborough.

HAVING just finished reading 
an article headed “Ambitions are set out for resort’s high street”, this problem is being placed before Scarborugh Council’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee chaired by David Jeffels and which I served on for many years.

The council is in a position to help the high street by offering parking concessions. If it is reluctant to do this, the motorists will just make for the supermarkets where parking is free.

With regards to the town centre manager which we had three years ago, and did not work out, I ask the question – what has changed?

Regarding Alparmare water park, I wrote a letter in this paper three years ago saying water parks have a poor financial record. As an ex-bookmaker, I would not give the council good odds that they will get their £9m back.

From: Thomas Reed, Harrogate.

CAN anyone explain what Jake Berry MP does as High Street Minister? The lot of our town centres doesn’t seem to have improved since his appointment, do they?

And how can the transfer of post offices to WH Smith be justified when the retailer is struggling to attract sufficient customers at its high street stores? Only its outlets at stations and airports are prospering.