Newtongrange Library plan in the post

Newtongrange Library could soon be providing Post Office services to the community.
Newtongrange Library could soon be providing Post Office services to the community.

Council officials will investigate whether putting a Post Office in Newtongrange Library could protect local services for the community.

Councillor Kieran Munro called on the council to investigate the viability of the plan and whether it would help not only bring the community back its Post Office but secure the future of the library.

And he was giving the unanimous backing of fellow councillors who hailed the idea as a future model for other communities if investigations proved it could work.

Cllr Munro (Con) told a meeting of the council that he had used his village library since he was a young boy and wanted to ensure its future: “I first visited Newtongrange Library in 1999 at the age of three and if there is one thing I can do in my time here I’ll be making sure the library is there for the community of Newtongrange 20 years from now.”

He asked Midlothian Council to explore “integrating a fully operational post office within Newtongrange Library, reinstating this much needed facility, increasing the footfall and providing the opportunity to engage with residents with regard to what the library has to offer.”

Council leader Derek Milligan (Lab) backed the proposal: “I think this is a very good idea, and would be interested in finding out if it could be rolled out to other areas. I think the suggestion of it being a stream of income to help booster the libraries and provide a public service is well thought out and welcome.”

And Councillor Jim Muirhead added: “If it gets us a post office back in Newtongrange and does anything to help sustain the library I am all for it.”

Despite some criticism from Councillor Kenneth Baird, SNP,  who accused the UK Government of selling the Post Office for “half of its worth” in 2016, the motion was passed unanimously.

A report into the feasibility of the proposal is expected to be put before the council in March next year.