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WH Smith & Post Office, Forest Hill
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admin
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Posts: 393
Joined: Dec 2002
Post: #1
14-10-2007 10:52 PM

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Michael
Joined 04-03-2005
Posted on Friday, 20 April, 2007 - 08:44 am:

It appears that Forest Hill post office is on the list of 70 that are planned to be moved to WH Smiths stores.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jht...post20.xml

This would leave another significant gap on the high street in Forest Hill. But what worries me most is the affect this could have when combined with the plans for redeveloping the station area.

The plans from Lewisham council recommend moving the station to more or less where WH Smiths is located and building more shops and flats in the remaining area. This is key to the revitalisation of Forest Hill town centre with the arrival of the tube. By moving the post office inside WH Smiths this may mean that Forest Hill is left without a post office for a number of years until WH Smiths can find a suitable site in the new development.

This is not the time to be closing FH post office and concentrating services in the WH Smiths site. I hope Lewisham council do all they can to oppose this move by WH Smiths.

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Roz
Joined 17-03-2005
Posted on Friday, 20 April, 2007 - 12:25 pm:

Michael, are these new plans from Lewisham Council or a rehash of the old town centre regen proposals? I wasn't aware these were now live.Is there a programme?

Its a bizarre decision by the Royal Mail to dispose of their business outlets in this way but no doubt this is a way of reducing their overheads to improve their competitiveness. Notwithstanding the regeneration plans for FH station area, what happens though if WH Smith outlets close due to poor economic performance? The large one on Sloane Square did and you can't get a better location than that- it was always busy.

If moved to WH Smiths in FH the facility will have to be on the ground floor due to wheelchair access, which doesn't leave a lot of room for anything else unless both operations are downsized. Sounds like too much of a compromise in either case. Will wait to hear more but , yes this move does not make sense at this current time.

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Lillam
Joined 15-04-2006
Posted on Saturday, 21 April, 2007 - 01:02 pm:

Its such a busy post office - what a disaster.

Surely the post is just one of many areas of public service that shouldn't be "open to competition" - all thats happened since the free market has been given access to the post is that prices have gone up and post offices have shut down.

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Brian
Joined 18-04-2005
Posted on Monday, 23 April, 2007 - 07:56 am:

I am also concerned about W H Smith.
It is a mystery to me how it still makes money.
I try to support it but seems to have very old fashioned opening hours.
9 am Sat and 8 am weekdays. Does not open Sundays.
Even then may Sat's I have been outside at after
9am and no sign of opening.
Of course people get fed up and go elsewhere.
The newsagent just along Dartmouth Rd has much longer hours.
If combining with Post Office saves Smith's might be a plus factor

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Tersie
Joined 04-02-2007
Posted on Monday, 23 April, 2007 - 06:09 pm:

I hear that the sub post office in HOP is probably going too which is a shame, I cannot see how having the post office in smiths in FH will work. Mind you could they not move smiths to where they post office is now...am I right in thinking it is a bigger building?

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Perryman
Joined 12-12-2006
Posted on Tuesday, 24 April, 2007 - 02:30 am:

WH Smiths are hardly going to move from their prime location.
How about the Post Office combining with Forest Hill station?
Train tickets, road tax, passports, foreign money, parcels - its all travel related.
Plus both sets of customers love queuing...

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Bosco
Joined 16-07-2004
Posted on Tuesday, 24 April, 2007 - 10:29 am:

Perryman - if the WH Smith land gets CPO'd they won't have much choice!

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Pat
Joined 12-11-2006
Posted on Tuesday, 24 April, 2007 - 01:08 pm:

WH Smith is crazy, I walk past at about 5.50 on weekdays and it's already shut - they're missing the workers getting off the trains!

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Pvp
Joined 17-03-2005
Posted on Tuesday, 24 April, 2007 - 04:49 pm:

Agree about Smiths - it really should open an hour earlier and later and would attract much more passing trade. Hopefully if revamped it could have a fresh start - potentially a partnerhip for a coffe shop?

With reards the post office, every time I've ever been in there, the queue's have been enormous. This is hardly a village shop serving 2 old biddies and a friendly dog. Would Smith's want those types of queues in the store?

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Andrewr
Joined 24-05-2006
Posted on Friday, 27 April, 2007 - 08:15 pm:

Seems to me:
The existing WH Smiths is far too small to take on the Post Office Business so WHS will want to do some sort of development to take advantage of their new business opportunity
WHS will want to stay close to their current location
Forest Hill Station is long overdue for redevelopment
Government money is coming to improve Forest Hill Station under the Access for All programme
TfL money is coming to Forest Hill Station under the ELR extension.
If only all the right heads can be knocked together we might get a new station incorporating decent access and a decent WHS and Post Office.
The question is - who has the ability to knock the very many heads together to get something to happen?

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Alexfeakes
Joined 22-06-2006
Posted on Saturday, 28 April, 2007 - 08:44 am:

Andrewr - I couldn't agree more, and knocking the right heads together is something that we (the ward councillors) are attempting to do at the moment. The big problem is trying to find the right (or indeed any) head to knock at Network Rail...

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Foresters
Joined 31-05-2006
Posted on Thursday, 11 October, 2007 - 06:31 pm:

I don't know if there's activity elsewhere about this, but I wrote to the Post Office as part of the 'consultation' expressing concerns about the size of WH Smith etc. They replied (very broadly paraphrasing) that they knew what they were doing (although their reply to me mistakenly said I was in Hemel Hepstead). It was such a generic response that I wrote again asking them to address the actual points I had made.

The reply came explaining that, 'since going into consultation' they have decided to put the Post Office on the FIRST FLOOR of Smiths! Along with that they have extended the 'consultation' until 23 October.

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Nevermodern
Joined 09-02-2007
Posted on Thursday, 11 October, 2007 - 07:52 pm:

Nice for anyone with a wheelchair or a pram. That won't be accessible, will it?

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Foresters
Joined 31-05-2006
Posted on Thursday, 11 October, 2007 - 08:39 pm:

well, they are planning a lift. They even sent me the plans.

Assuming this is a fete accompli, however, I am starting to get concerned for what the existing PO site will become. Vacant premises perhaps, or maybe Ladbrokes would see an opportunity!

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Nevermodern
Joined 09-02-2007
Posted on Thursday, 11 October, 2007 - 09:04 pm:

Yes, it's a trick property to do anything with. In some ways it's a pity there are flats above. I'd quite like to see it knocked down.

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Pvp
Joined 17-03-2005
Posted on Friday, 12 October, 2007 - 10:04 am:

On the odd occassion I've been to be PO it has always been packed. If it is to be squeezed on the first floor... not good!

Also it means FH loses it's only source of books and CD's etc. It has saved me when I've had to do some last minute birthday shopping many times.

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Brian
Joined 18-04-2005
Posted on Friday, 12 October, 2007 - 01:13 pm:

I agree not ideal but I suppose we at leasst hold onto to both a Smiths's and a Post Office.
Without this I would think Smith's would close. Cannot believe they are making a profit. Never very customer friendly anyway.

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robwinton


Posts: 335
Joined: Jun 2006
Post: #2
15-10-2007 12:03 PM

As has probably been pointed out, we are lucky to have a post office at all with the number of closures being talked about.

The positive way to look at it would be that by combining the two would make both more succesful and encourage the two operations to place pressure on TfL (or whoever) to rebuild the station and give them a proper building.

As as I say, it is trying to be positive about it, but the decision has been taken and it could be worse.

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roz


Posts: 1,793
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #3
22-10-2007 09:32 PM

Yes, we should appreciate that we still have a visible service given all the closures however from a business model point of view I cant see how a reduction in high street outlets is going to improve PO turnover let alone meet the needs of the many in Forest Hill who do not yet and can never do all of their business on the net.
Whilst shopping in Smiths a few days ago I am given to understand from the staff that there will only be two PO counters when the first floor is redeveloped. I haven't been into the current PO for ages - how many are there are present and how do you think we'll all manage with two? From recollection there were 5 in operation at any one time.
My husband does all our PO business albeit on Saturday mornings only and he thinks this will be very bad news. Presumably though Sat morning is disproportionately busy and it is quiet during the week? My neighbour however always complained about the queues on pension day.
Apparently the new PP area is due to open on Feb 14th- Valentines Day.
Work on the lift seems to have already started as they have partitioned off part of the store for this. The lift will be completed in a few weeks time.

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nevermodern


Posts: 653
Joined: Feb 2007
Post: #4
22-10-2007 09:59 PM

I used to live in North London near Wood Green and the main post office there would regularly have upwards of 50 people in the queue and you'd be waiting over 20 minutes to get served. Unfortunately this seems acceptable to PO management. They continued to close more local post officer and the queue got even bigger. FH post office is much less busy then that, and PO management will be perfectly happy with longer queues and less staff in the WH Smiths building. I do, however think it's a reallly good opportunity for both business to utilise each other. There's a Rymans/PO near Chancery Lane which works extremely well.

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roz


Posts: 1,793
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #5
22-10-2007 10:50 PM

At least all the queues will make Smiths look busy and no doubt there are plenty of magazines and newspapers to keep people occupied whilst they wait. A bit like having a range of sweets at supermarket check out tills. Perhaps someone will even read a complete novel whilst they wait to post their parcels, thereby improving their literacy. And with all that queuing maybe people will even be reduced to talking to each other. Who knows what this plan will do for community development and cohesion in Forest Hill.

I had to use the post office/newsagent/everything else shop in Forest Hill Road a few weeks ago and in a very small space there were three different tills, ie one for the Lottery only, one for the Post Office Counters only, and one for Everything Else. Needless to say I managed to get into the wrong queue twice. It therefore took me 20 minutes to buy a book of stamps and an envelope and then I had to get into the third queue to post it by registered post.

What I find confusing is the spate of TV ads for Post Office Counter services which is being rolled out as they make these cuts....

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Scorpion


Posts: 121
Joined: Nov 2005
Post: #6
23-10-2007 05:02 PM

Two things to say on this:-
1. TOTAL MADNESS! to close FH PO as its very busy on many days and..............
2. I will NEVER use WHS FH again:- its awful at the best of times (before the PO being in there - no papers allowed to be sold from a bit after 5pm etc)
Whoever decided this was in the "best interest of local people" needs a brain transplant :o(

TOTAL DISASTER for the area!!!!!!

Yours disappointedly

Sue

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Happysnapper


Posts: 93
Joined: Aug 2007
Post: #7
24-10-2007 09:08 AM

roz Wrote:
Perhaps someone will even read a complete novel whilst they wait to post their parcels, thereby improving their literacy.


*snigger*

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loca


Posts: 67
Joined: Sep 2007
Post: #8
25-10-2007 12:55 PM

I saw some work going on yesterday at WHS, it looks like they have closed the top floor.

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thenutfield


Posts: 235
Joined: Nov 2007
Post: #9
14-11-2007 07:59 PM

is it just me, or is WH Smith by Forest Hill Station about 100 times shabbier and grottier than any other WH Smith?

Does anyone know if they are deliberately running it down, or is it just badly managed?

Personally, I would hate to see it go - I use it quite a lot, newspapers, comics for the kids, the odd book - but the grimy carpets and surly staff are doing all they can to put me off!

I am a relative newcomer, has it always been like this??

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shzl400


Posts: 729
Joined: Oct 2007
Post: #10
14-11-2007 08:01 PM

One would hope that there would be a refurb. before the post office moved in?

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calvin


Posts: 62
Joined: Feb 2006
Post: #11
14-11-2007 08:47 PM

I was told, upon going in to buy On Chesil Beach, that 'we don't sell them kinds of books here'. Nothing else even remotely helpful. It was only the second or third time I've ventured in there in 18 months, for a variety of reasons. They're hardly ever open, not accessible, and never have anything I want.

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doc


Posts: 16
Joined: Feb 2005
Post: #12
14-11-2007 09:36 PM

It has been very shoddy for a long while. Upstairs especially - books are regularly lying haphazardly on the shelves or still half-unpacked in boxes on the floors. And the staff even on weekdays are invariably of the 'Saturday-girl' type, unknowledgeable and disinterested in matters other than gossiping with their colleagues.

No wonder they lose out to the likes of Waterstones and Amazon, who know the meaning of customer service.

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RobChik


Posts: 4
Joined: Nov 2007
Post: #13
14-11-2007 09:51 PM

It's not just you, thenutfield. I can't stand the place, for all the reasons mentioned above. Execrable customer service and shoddy presentation mean that I save up my book-buying until Mrs Robchik wants to go to Bluewater. Then I hit Waterstones... Smile

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Ian


Posts: 75
Joined: Oct 2007
Post: #14
14-11-2007 09:54 PM

WH Smith was a wonderful place in the good old day's, very busy on Saturday's.
It wasn't shabby then, too many people using it over the years has done this.
I stopped using it when they stopped selling vinyl records (Remember those?)

I can not see the point in having any WHS in this day and age.

The daily newspapers can be read online for free in 2yk, why pay for rubbish ?
If you travel by the cattle transportation system you can pick up a 'free' paper
in this modern city. I believe the new working class read them all of the time
going to and from work ?

Books: Order them from that company in the rain forest, Amazon I think it's called.
Much cheaper than buying it from a shop.

Comics: Ah, the Beano and the Dandy were marvelous but I'm too old to read them now.

Stationary: No need now we have the paper-less office with computers.

Cards: No need for them with email/texts/phone calls etc.

You can't even buy the Big Issue there, you have to walk up to Sainsbury's if you
want one !
WHS should close down and another Betting Office should open in it's place :>)


One loud voice can make a difference !
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blushingsnail


Posts: 364
Joined: Dec 2005
Post: #15
15-11-2007 01:45 PM

Not that I want to divert shoppers away from SE23, but the Kirkdale Bookshop in Sydenham is very good.

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nevermodern


Posts: 653
Joined: Feb 2007
Post: #16
15-11-2007 01:53 PM

I've always found WHSmiths to be very gloomy. I never even realised there was an upstairs, to be honest, as the whole place is badly lit and makes you want to scuttle in and out as quickly as possible. Having said that, I'm glad FH has a WHSmiths. Here's hoping the PO upstairs improves things. It should at least mean people go *through* there and see what's on offer along the way.

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sue


Posts: 27
Joined: Nov 2005
Post: #17
15-11-2007 02:18 PM

Although Smiths is rather shabby we should all be grateful for it. A shop of that size is hardly justified in a small place like Forest Hill, and although I hate the idea of the Post Office moving in there, at least it will ensure it stays open. If it closed who would want to move in to premises of that size. Does anyone else remember how long the Capitol was closed and how shabby it was getting before Wetherspoons moved in. Look at the other empty properties around, what used to be McDonalds, the nearby restaurant whose name I've forgotten, what used to be the Midland Bank in Dartmouth Road and the property next to it that used to be the Spar, and shortly too of course the Post Office. If you ask me all these premises are too large for new businesses to take on.

Use it or lose it people! We don't need any more empty eyesores in FH

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shzl400


Posts: 729
Joined: Oct 2007
Post: #18
15-11-2007 02:31 PM

With you, Sue!

I don't suppose there are any plans for what will now be a large, empty post office unit?

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sue


Posts: 27
Joined: Nov 2005
Post: #19
15-11-2007 02:59 PM

Ian Wrote:
WH Smith was a wonderful place in the good old day's, very busy on Saturday's.
It wasn't shabby then, too many people using it over the years has done this.
I stopped using it when they stopped selling vinyl records (Remember those?)

I can not see the point in having any WHS in this day and age.

The daily newspapers can be read online for free in 2yk, why pay for rubbish ?
If you travel by the cattle transportation system you can pick up a 'free' paper
in this modern city. I believe the new working class read them all of the time
going to and from work ?

Books: Order them from that company in the rain forest, Amazon I think it's called.
Much cheaper than buying it from a shop.

Comics: Ah, the Beano and the Dandy were marvelous but I'm too old to read them now.

Stationary: No need now we have the paper-less office with computers.

Cards: No need for them with email/texts/phone calls etc.

You can't even buy the Big Issue there, you have to walk up to Sainsbury's if you
want one !
WHS should close down and another Betting Office should open in it's place :>)


Nevermind ordering from Amazon. You can order via the WH Smith website, usually cheaper than buying in the shop, and if you elect to have it delivered to the shop for collection, there's no postage to pay!

As for no need to buy newspapers, I tend to find a computer cumbersome to take on the bus and read in the hospital/doctor's waiting room etc., a newspaper is much better. Easier to fill in the Sudoku puzzles too.

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nevermodern


Posts: 653
Joined: Feb 2007
Post: #20
15-11-2007 03:06 PM

I think the link with the PO could potentially work well. I used to work of Chancery Lane, and there was a PO/Rymans there which was the ideal mix - you got your stationery/packaging, posted your stuff and had a look round, maybe buying something else while you were there.

And I do think that without an injection of customers, our Smiths will close.

The old PO building in FH isn't the best, is it? In some ways it's a shame there are flats above it (apologies to those who live above the PO and are happy!) because the site could do with redevelopment. I think someone previously has mentioned the lovely, wide, al fresco-dining-friendly pavement!

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