THE Post Office has given a cast-iron commitment that its counter staff will remain at the heart of South Shields town centre when its current premises closes next year.
The office, in Keppel Street, is due to be flattened as part of the council’s £100m “365 masterplan”.
It is to make way for a new integrated transport hub.
When the masterplan was unveiled more than two years ago, one of the options was to relocate counter staff into a new library and digital hub, to be built on the town’s riverside.
That is not now considered an option.
But a Post Office spokesperson today confirmed that an alternative site within the town centre was actively being sought.
They said the company was “totally committed to staying beyond the redevelopment of the Post Office site in 2016”.
Meanwhile, the 90 staff working in the adjoining Royal Mail sorting office also remain uncertain where they will be relocated to when the building is eventually flattened.
The Post Office spokesperson said: “The Post Office is committed to maintaining services for customers in South Shields.
“We know how important Post Office services are to people in the area, and we are determined to preserve our physical presence at the heart of the community.
“We are currently looking at alternative premises for South Shields Post Office that will suit customers and the needs of Post Office.”
Ralph Herron, Communication Workers Union (CWU) shop steward at South Shields sorting office, said: “We have to get out of here, we know that.
“As to where we will go, we don’t know yet, possibly on an industrial estate in Laygate but nothing has been confirmed.
“I think two or three different sites have been looked at but no final decision made.”
A spokesman for South Tyneside Council said: “We are delighted that the Post Office is committed to staying in South Shields.
“The council is working with all affected parties to support them where necessary with relocation, and finding alternative premises to help realise our vision for the future of the town centre.”
A Royal Mail spokesperson said: “Royal Mail is in the process of looking for an alternative site for the South Shields delivery office.
“Operations will be transferred to the new site well before the redevelopment takes place.”