South Shields’ new-look Post Office officially opened its doors today as multi-million pound plans to transform King Street and the surrounding areas step up a gear.
The relocation of the office from Keppel Street to the town’s main shopping area is part of the council’s 365 vision to revamp and rejuvenate the area.
The Royal Mail delivery office has made the move to a new facility at Laygate.
Today, South Tyneside Council leader Coun Iain Malcolm officially opened the new South Shields branch of the Post Office.
He said: “Organisations like the post office are tough negotiators and it has taken us a little while to get the mechanics right for their move from Keppel Street to King Street.
“But they have moved to a fantastic location.
This move now means we can seek demolition of the Keppel Street site earlier than anticipated.Coun Iain Malcolm
“It is going to happen, our future plans for King Street and surrounding areas.
“This move now means we can seek demolition of the Keppel Street site earlier than anticipated.
“The money is in place, the planning is in place for work on the new Metro and Transport Interchange to start next year.
“And I think the residents, in a very short space of time, will start seeing some major improvements in the centre of South Shields.
“I know it’s a long process. The regeneration and transformation of a place doesn’t happen overnight, but I think with the Post Office move into King Street, and our ownership of the Keppel Street site, 365 is very much on track.”
The new Post Office, in the former Officer’s Club clothing shop, boasts an open-plan layout with six serving positions. There are also self-service kiosks.
It also provides the same services that were available at the former Post Office in Keppel Street.
John Jones, area manager for the post office for the North East of England and Scotland, said: “It is a fantastic opportunity for us to be trading in the heart of South Shields.
“It’s great for our team, but it’s also a new, modern environment for our customers.
“We will continue to build on its core strength and continue to deliver a wide range of products, from travel to insurance products, as well as our core business of mail.”
Customer Jean Thornton, from South Shields, said: “It’s very good and very spacious. It’s a lot better than the old office, which was dull and dingy.
“I’ve noticed the delivery office is going to be in Laygate, which is a shame. Where it was, was easy to get off the bus.
“Now I will have to try to find out how to get there in case I have any parcels I need to pick up.
“But overall, I am happy with the new place. The staff at the post office were always very friendly, and they continue to be here. They are very helpful.”
Earlier this month, council chiefs confirmed that all land and properties needed to press ahead with what will be the new Transport Interchange development in Keppel Street have been successfully acquired.
It is now thought experts will move in to start clearing the old Post Office site within weeks to make way for the new building.