The downsizing of a popular post office branch will only add to the deterioration of Barkingside High Street, according to the deputy leader of the council.

Despite a petition calling on the Post Office to retain the branch earlier this year, it has now finalised plans to franchise it to company Quidsavers, which will next month take over the premises formerly occupied by the Co-Operative store.

If the plans pass a six-week public consultation process, the branch will open in September.

But Cllr Wes Streeting said the downsizing  will mean the quality of service will be reduced.

He said: “We have seen countless times when post offices have downsized and the quality of service goes down.

A spokesman for the Post Office said: “The proposed move is part of a major modernisation programme across the Post Office network designed to ensure Post Office branches are sustainable, profitable and no longer reliant on Government funding.

“We are committed to keeping a Post Office branch in Barkingside and to maintaining the same levels of service for our customers."

For more on this story see tomorrow's Wanstead and Woodford Guardian.