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Gretna Day Centre make bid to take on Post Office

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By Donald Turvill
Annan and Eskdale
Gretna Day Centre make bid to take on Post Office
SUPPORT . . . Colin Smyth MSP, second right, with day centre members

A BID to have Gretna Day Centre take-over the running of the town’s Post Office has been welcomed by two local politicians.

The existing postal kiosk, currently operating in SPAR, is set to close next month, it was announced recently by the convenience chain’s wholesaler CJ Lang.

The closure has since been widely criticised by Gretna’s residents and elected representatives.

An appeal by South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth to local community groups and shops to take on running the counter has returned several responses — including one from Gretna Day Centre.

Mr Smyth said earlier this week that staff from the centre had got in touch with him and councillor Archie Dryburgh, who represents the Annandale East and Eskdale ward. The pair are now urging the Post Office to work with the Day Centre to explore the viability of services being run from their base at the Richard Greenhow Centre.

Mr Smyth said: “I have been speaking to a number of groups who are potentially interested in running one of the closure-hit branches but we’re at a very early stage and I’m delighted that Gretna Day Centre has come forward.

“The Day Centre is a brilliant asset in the town and the community is lucky to have it. I hope they are successful in their bid to take over the running of the Post Office as it would be ideally placed, being so close to the existing Post Office in SPAR, minimising disruption for people.”

He highlighted that whilst the development will “hopefully be good news story for Gretna”, three other local branches in Eastriggs, Thornhill and Georgetown also face closure, adding: “I’m still appealing to any community groups or businesses who have an interest to come forward.”

Meanwhile, Cllr Archie Dryburgh called it ‘a positive proposal’ and said: “With the town’s bank gone, we don’t want the community to lose anything else and there are a lot of people who rely on their local post office for all kinds of reasons.

“We’re hopeful that the Post Office will eventually move into the Day Centre, however, my message to the community would be: use it or lose it. If the Day Centre are successful in their bid, Post Office monitor how many people use the facility and in order to maintain decent opening hours, we need people to use it regularly.”

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