Post Office concerns aired

“Real concerns” over local Post Office cover have to be tackled to ensure that service levels are maintained, local MP Mike Weir has said.

His comments came after a meeting with representatives from Post Office Limited to discuss the proposed relocation of the Forfar and Kirriemuir branches as well as other proposals for the service in Angus.

Mr Weir has previously raised questions about the process by which postmasters are being encouraged to give up existing businesses which are then being incorporated elsewhere.

He said: “In both Forfar and Kirriemuir we have the situation where stand-alone post offices serve the whole town but in both cases it is proposed that they will form a part of another business.

“In both cases the new sites will make it more difficult for local people to access the service, particularly if they require their cars to get to the post office since parking in the new locations is inferior to what is presently available. This will particularly hit the elderly and less mobile.

“In other burghs where such changes have taken place there have been complaints about less privacy, security and the need to queue together with shoppers leading to longer waits.”

Mr Weir blamed the way in which the UK government had dealt with Post Office Limited for many of the problems associated with the moves.

He added: “When Royal Mail was privatised Post Office Limited became a separate company, although owned by the UK government. They made available a substantial sum of money to enable them to make changes to ‘stabilise’ the network, but this is time-limited and has led to the present situation when many of these changes are coming together following Post Office approaches to existing postmasters rather than on a longer term as would normally be the case. Unfortunately ministers will not intervene saying that Post Office limited is now an independent entity.”

The public consultation over proposals for Kirriemuir Post Office has, meanwhile, been extended by two weeks until November 18. Post Office Limited has said this will ensure residents have every opportunity to have their say. A representative from the company will also attend tonight’s (Wednesday) community council meeting.