Plea for retention of Post Office service

The Spar store in Polton St, Bonnyrigg 27/08/18
The Spar store in Polton St, Bonnyrigg 27/08/18

An appeal has gone out to businesses in Bonnyrigg which could accommodate and maintain a Post Office service in the town.

Local MP Danielle Rowley and Councillor Derek Milligan, leader of Midlothian Council, are calling for alternative premises to be identified following the resignation of the current postmaster and closure of the Polton Street Spar, which houses the Post Office.

It follows a meeting between Ms Rowley, Mr Milligan and Mark Gibson, Post Office’s External Affairs Manager, who stated that despite initial interest from some business people, no-one had come forward to take over the service.

Services will be suspended from tomorrow (Friday) with the nearest Post Offices in Eskbank and Dalkeith. A Post Office spokesman said that everything was being done to keep any break in service to a minimum.

Ms Rowley said: “I would ask that local businesses in Bonnyrigg consider taking on the Post Office service. On top of RBS closing earlier this year, and the Bank of Scotland withdrawing their counter and coin services, the absence of a Post Office will be widely felt by the community.”

Mr Milligan added: “There are a number of operators in Bonnyrigg that would be well placed to take over the Post Office service – I urge them to contact the Post Office to explore this possibility.”

Marnie Crawford, Bonnyrigg and Lasswade Community Council chairman, urged any suitable businesses to help the community if they could.

She said: “We’re greatly upset that the Post Office is going and even although they say it’s temporary it will be inconvenient for a lot of people.

“We need an alternative site for the Post Office and I know there are all sorts of issues in finding somewhere suitable, but it isn’t as if the Post Office isn’t looking.

“We think the Co-op would be the most suitable and have contacted to them to ask them to look at it again. There are very few businesses that could absorb the Post Office services at the moment and we’re hoping they can come up with something that might help because it’s going to be difficult.”

Mrs Crawford also pointed out that the community will already suffer due to the loss and changes to its banking services, which will be added to by the closure of the Post Office, particularly for the elderly and small business owners

She added: “So many people shop by mail order these days so there’s a great need for a Post Office to return parcels etc. Most of us can get in our cars and go to Eskbank or Dalkeith but for some people just getting on a bus to get there can be a regular issue. We’d be delighted to see anyone come up with other ideas that would allow us to get a Post Office up and running as soon as possible.”