The expected closure of Bonnyrigg’s post office has been confirmed, although it still hoped that the service will be resumed in the town.
As reported in last week’s Advertiser, with the Polton Street SPAR to close on October 1, no new home for the post office situated inside the store has been found.
A Post Office spokesman has confirmed that the branch will close “temporarily” on September 28, but added that everything is being done to keep any break in service to a minimum.
He said: “Following the resignation of the postmaster and the withdrawal of premises Bonnyrigg Post Office will close temporarily on September 28.
“Unfortunately, from time to time branches do temporarily close for reasons beyond our control.
“The majority of our branches are run by independent retailers, meaning we are not the owners of the premises and regrettably, we are often unable to immediately reopen the branch ourselves.
“We always want to maintain Post Office services as we understand how important they are to communities such as Bonnyrigg.
“We would like to reassure our customers that we are doing all we can to keep any break in service to a minimum.
“Following the temporary closure customers Post Office services are available at any convenient Post Office including our Dalkeith and Eskbank branches.”
The news has been met with frustration from local MP Danielle Rowley and Midlothian Council Leader Derek Milligan (both Lab). Ms Rowley said: “I will be fighting hard to ensure that this ‘temporary’ closure doesn’t sleepwalk into becoming a permanent one.”
Cllr Milligan added: “The disruption that local businesses and residents will face having to source basic services our community relies upon will be widely felt.”
Both have written to the Post Offices’ National Consultation Team questioning the decision and will seek to arrange a meeting with Post Office representatives.
Ms Rowley’s office has also received confirmation from the Bank of Scotland that they will be withdrawing counter service at its Bonnyrigg branch providing a further hit to the area.
Ms Rowley expressed her disappointment at this development, she said: “Confirmation that Bank of Scotland counter services will be withdrawn from its Bonnyrigg branch just weeks after the Royal Bank of Scotland shut its doors in Bonnyrigg is a further hit to local services and jobs. Although residents will still be able to deposit money, Bonnyrigg will now be left without any face to face banking service. This is unacceptable, and I will request a meeting with those involved to attempt to save the service.”
And Midlothian North MSP Colin Beattie has lobbied the Post Office to discuss the temporary disruption of service to the people in Bonnyrigg and surrounding areas.
He said: “I understand that many Bonnyrigg residents will feel frustrated and upset at the loss of their nearest Post Office. The situation is not ideal but I understand the Post Office are working hard to find a suitable location to set-up another local branch.
“Your nearest Post Office branches are Eskbank Trading, Eskbank and High Street, Dalkeith.
“Unfortunately with the recent closure of the RBS in Bonnyrigg this is another massive inconvenience to the community and I will continue to monitor the situation and keep in touch with the Post Office to ensure the inconvenience is reduced to a minimum.”