Plans for new site for Forfar Post Office

Solus.
Solus.

Opposition is growing to proposals to close Forfar Post Office and relocate services to a shop in East High Street.

Local councillors have mainly come out against the idea since it was put forward last week by Post Office Limited.

The Post Office has said the move to 7 East High Street would create a “modern open-plan main-style branch” which would also have extended opening hours and a six-week public consultation is currently under way.

It is part of Post Office plans to modernise its network and extend service hours.

Sited within a convenience store, there would be three serving positions - one modern screened counter, one open-plan position and an open-plan Post Office serving point at the shop’s retail till that would be open for most Post Office transactions throughout shop opening hours, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday to Saturday which would be 19 hours and 30 minutes more than now.

But the proposal has not found favour with local councillors who said the new location would be less convenient for customers.

Angus Councillor Glennis Middleton told the Dispatch: “I understand that it may be financially difficult for Post Office counters where they are; however I cannot see any positives in the proposed move to the Solus premises.

“Those premises are on a hill at a pedestrian crossing and there is no parking at the door. The consultation document is flawed as it says there are free roadside parking facilities available on either side of the road. That is patently not true. I have had concerns raised by a number of taxi drivers and I have urged them to make their views known as they will not be able to stop to drop an older person, or a person with a disability, at the door.

“It is absolutely imperative that people make their views known.”

Suzanne Richardson, Post Office regional manager, said the company is confident this new service will meet the community’s needs and offer security for the future.

She added: “This modernisation is part of a major investment programme, the largest in the history of the Post Office and marks a commitment to no more branch closure programmes.”

Local MP Mike Weir, who is also the SNP’s postal affairs spokesman, urged local people to examine the proposals closely.

He said: “Unfortunately since the passing of the Postal Services Act which privatised the Royal Mail the public consultations are the only way that the general public can have an input into these changes.

“I have repeatedly taken up other changes with ministers who, frankly, have washed their hands of the matter saying that Post Office limited is now an independent company and they will not interfere with its commercial decisions. This seems bizarre to me given that the UK government is the sole shareholder and it is taxpayers’ money that is funding this programme.”

The consultation will close on November 26, 2014. Submissions can be made during the consultation by Freepost YOUR COMMENTS to Post Office Ltd, via email to comments@postoffice.co.uk, via the Customer Helpline on 08457 22 33 44 or Textphone 08457 22 33 55.

Customers can also share their views online through the quick and easy questionnaire at postofficeviews.co.uk with the branch code 126820.