The Duke of Northumberland cut the ribbon to officially launch Alnwick’s new-look post office, following a major refurbishment.
The ceremony took place yesterday at the Market Street venue, which now offers increased opening hours and an improved experience for customers.
Speaking at the launch event, the Duke said: “I am very pleased to be officially reopening Alnwick Post Office and I want to congratulate Postmaster Andrew Philips and branch manager Sandra McMullen on their hard work. I formally declare the new-look Alnwick Post Office open.
“Post offices are vital to the communities around the country and I’m sure the new-look Alnwick branch, with the long opening hours, will be warmly welcomed by people who live and work locally.”
Alnwick Post Office itself is open from 8.45am to 5.30pm Mondays to Fridays, and from 8.45am to 5pm on Saturdays, with selected Post Office products and services available from the retail counter during shop opening hours, which are 6am to 5.30pm Mondays to Fridays, 6am to 5pm on Saturdays, and 6am to 12.30pm on Sundays.
The opening hours, which have increased by an extra 16 hours of Post Office service a week, will offer more choice of times for customers to visit.
Post Office services are now provided from three modern serving positions.
There are three main counters – one open-plan, one full-screened and a Post Office service point, offering selected services at the retail counter.
Postmaster Andrew Philips said: “I was delighted to have the opportunity to present the new-style branch and I am very pleased to be officially launching it for the community.
“I hope our customers like their new-look Post Office and I’d like to thank the Duke for taking time from his busy schedule to come here. I’d also like to thank the local community for their continued support and use of the branch.”
Mr Philips also provides a mobile van service in the area and runs Tynemouth Post Office.
Mark Gibson, Post Office public affairs manager, said: “We understand how important having a post office is to residents around Alnwick and I am confident that this new modern post office will meet the needs of the local community and secure services for the future.
“This modernisation is part of a major investment programme, the largest in the history of the Post Office and marks a commitment to no more branch closure programmes.”
In 2012, the Post Office announced an investment of £1.34billion for the network to undertake a transformation programme across 6,000 branches.
In November 2013, the Government announced a further £640million investment in the Post Office network, to modernise a further 2,000 branches and invest £20million in around 3,400 community branches.