The leader of Dartford Council is "very concerned" as he tables a motion calling for a rethink on plans to move Dartford Post Office to WH Smith.

If passed, the motion proposed by Conservative council leader Jeremy Kite and set to be discussed next week will ask the Post Office to "put the interests of local people, businesses and dedicated Post Office staff first" and to "enter into meaningful and open dialogue" with the public on the future of its services.

Cllr Kite said that considering the concerns coming in regarding the proposals, Post Office had "done very little" to involve customers and its own staff, even though this would see a big change to how services are provided.

He said: "Their proposal would see counters move from the well-established premises in Hythe Street into a franchise within a retail unit on the High Street and whilst this isn’t about bricks and mortar, we do have big concerns about whether the capacity and future of the service can be guaranteed.

"The big worry relates to the retention of the experienced staff who currently provide the service and also of the importance of ensuring that the needs of customers and residents are fully met along with the needs of businesses and other users in our growing town.

"My motion makes clear that the Post Office have more work to do to let local people and businesses what they are planning and ask them to make sure that the interests of those customers, and their experienced staff, are their priorities."

This comes after the Post Office announced it had entered a franchise deal with WH Smith, in which it intends to move a large number of branches into WH Smith outlets.

A petition launched by a concerned customer calling for the post office to be saved has reached over 850 signatures, while a separate petition started by members of Dartford Labour, received over 1,000 following a protest held on the high street in November.


Speaking to News Shopper, Labour councillor Jonathon Hawkes said that while he welcomes the Conservative's response to local concerns, the council " should be going further."

"People that have spoken to us say that they want a clear message to be sent to Post Office bosses and to the government the transfer to WH Smith must be halted and that they want their post office to remain an asset of and for the people for Dartford.

"That's why Labour will be tabling amendments to strengthen the Conservative motion next Monday," he said.

The motion will be debated at the next council meeting on December 10.