by Margaret Kearns
Post office today announced it’s final decision on the closure of branches throughout the Edinburgh area. 24 local branches are to close in the Edinburgh, The Lothians and South of Scotland area following a six week public consultation which ended on the 29th of September. A further 32 branches are to be replaced by new Outreach posts. The first of these shutdowns are expected to take effect in early November.
The cessation plan is part of Post Offices ‘Network Change’ program which aims to “modernise and reshape the network and put it on a more stable footing” by removing many of it’s mainly independent-run branches and replace them with “Outreach type service points”. These include: Mobile Post Office Hosted Service, Partner Service, Hosted Service and the Home Delivery Service.
The Public Consultation period saw Post Office Ltd. receive 3532 responses and attend more than 100 meetings with concerned customer representatives and local resident groups. The edinburgh branches affected by today’s announcement include Warrender Park, Pilrig Toll, Cramond, Nicholson St, Magdalene Dr, Goldenacre, Gorgie, Dalmeny, Broomhall, Longstone and Shandon Place. Oxgangs’ branch will face another six week wait following further public consultation. The move today is expected to anger many Edinburgh residents especially those in the Marchmont area who presented Post Office Ltd. with a 3198 name petition against the closure of the Warrender Park office.
Many city representatives threw their hats into the ring on behalf of disappointed customers. City council leader Jenny Dawe insisted the closure of any city post office would be a “major blow” for the community it serves. “We know that they form an integral part of local neighbourhoods, particularly for older and less mobile residents”. Liberal Democrat MSP Mike Pringle also attended a meeting of more than 300 disgruntled Marchmont residents in September and vowed to fight the closures, he said today “this comes as a hammer blow to the residents of Marchmont…elderly people now face having to slog over to Bruntsfield or Tollcross to stand in long queues for basic services” Mr Pringle also accused the government of turning it’s back on local communities.
Sally Buchanan, Post Office Ltd’s Network Development Manager for Scotland, said: “These are difficult decisions which have not been taken lightly. We have considered very carefully all the comments made during the public consultation. “We believe that the amended plan announced today offers our customers across Edinburgh, The Lothians and the South of Scotland the best prospect for a sustainable network in the future, bearing in mind the UK Government’s minimum access criteria and the other factors it has asked us to consider.”
To check if your area has been affected you can go to: www.postoffice.co.uk/networkchange or email firstname.lastname@example.org