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Temporary Post Offices announced as closures loom

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By Euan Maxwell
Temporary Post Offices announced as closures loom
CLOSING TIME . . . MSP Colin Smyth and councillor Sean Marshall outside the existing Post Office branch in Eastriggs

OUTREACH services are set to replace four Dumfriesshire Post Offices preparing for closure.

The Thornhill counter will cease trading on August 12 and Georgetown one week later on August 19.

Meanwhile, Gretna’s postal branch is set to shut up shop on August 23, with Eastriggs following exactly one month later.

It comes after a decision taken by SPAR’s wholesaler, CJ Lang, to remove Post Office kiosks from swathes of stores across Scotland.

The move sparked outrage from local residents – who have campaigned relentlessly to retain mail, banking and currency servies in their remote communities.

In an attempt to rehouse branches ahead of the imminent closures, South Scotland MSP, Colin Smyth, and Dumfriesshire MP, David Mundell, have both met with Post Office bosses in recent weeks.

This week it was announced that a temporary mobile service will commence in Gretna on Wednesday, August 25, operated by the postmaster from Scotby Post Office in Carlisle. It will park on Annan Road, near to All Saints Church on Wednesdays from 2.15 pm to 4.15 pm and Fridays from 9am to 11am.

And final arrangements are being put in place by the Post Office to provide an outreach service in Eastriggs on a Tuesday and Friday when the current SPAR branch closes next month.

Thornhill’s branch is due to temporarily move to the village’s library on Townhead Street from Monday, August 16. It will be open for business on Mondays from 11am to 2 pm and Wednesdays from 11 am to 2 pm.

Furthermore, Georgetown Post Office will also relocate to the local library on on Gillbrae Road, open weekly on Fridays between 10 am and 1 pm from August 27. It will also operate from the local library, on Gillbrae Road, between 10 am to 1pm.

Colin Smyth welcomed the announcement but stressed that more has to be done to secure permanent replacement services in both areas.

He said: “There is still a lot of anger over the decision by CJ Lang to pull the plug on these services in some of the SPAR shops they own, especially given that these are all profitable, viable Post Office counters. However, CJ Lang isn’t prepared to discuss changing their position so we now need to find alternatives.

“I had a good meeting with Post Office bosses and I’m confident that they’re doing all they can to keep services in each community. I’m pleased temporary arrangements are now being finalised as we continue to work to find long term solutions.

“It is still early days but I am very hopeful that we can find the post offices new, permanent homes in the communities, or at the very least the Post Office will provide a long term outreach services.

“But what that solution is will depend on finding alternative providers.”

Mr Smyth added he has had “really good discussions” with community organisations and businesses in Gretna which are considering taking over the running of the town’s local branch.

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