Milton Ward councillor Julian Ware-Lane had expressed concerns about the move to the High Street Post Office into the W H Smith store. It was something that concerned him not least because he could foresee issues with access.
This move has happened in the last year, with mixed views as to its success. Some customers do not like having to traipse through the stationery store and bookshop to purchase stamps, etc; others are stoical.
Recent rains have seen the roof leak in the building that house WH Smith and now the Post Office. The leak caused all self-service machines to fail. There was water all over the floor; this affected access to Post Office services.
Cllr Ware-Lane said: "Having the Post Office counters above the ground floor not only makes access a little more difficult, but it is also liable to these sort of extreme weather incidents."
Deputy Leader of the Labour Group on Southend-on-Sea Borough Council, Cllr Anne Jones, said: "Labour councillors and activists spoke to many members of the public, prior to the Post Office moving to their current premises. The most frequent concern was that it would be located on the first floor and could be inaccessible to wheelchair users, mobility scooter users and people with children in prams. It is appalling that not only did the post office dismiss these concerns, but the premises underwent only a cosmetic refurbishment and not a proper upgrade. The concern all along was that the building would not be fit for purpose. Furthermore, it is not particularly safe for the public to use."