Stonehaven Post Office arrangements ‘unsustainable’

An MSP has written to the Post Office calling on the organisation to open a new branch in Stonehaven town centre over concerns about the lack of services available in the area.

Tuesday, 22nd December 2020, 7:21 am

Scottish Conservative north-east MSP Liam Kerr has said residents are being unfairly treated by the Post Office which now only has one branch in the town operating from a petrol station on Arduthie Road.

He voiced concerns after Stonehaven’s main post office within the Keystore closed in April.

Since then, concerned residents have contacted Mr Kerr to say the current post office at the Co-op petrol station is inadequate and too small, with fewer services being offered and queues forming outside the branch.

In his letter to the Post Office, Mr Kerr said residents are having to travel outwith Stonehaven for access to services which aren’t offered at the Arduthie Road branch.

His letter says: “As you may be aware, Stonehaven’s main Post Office, situated within the Keystore on Allardice Street closed in April of this year.

“Since April, residents have been forced to rely entirely on a smaller Post Office situated within the petrol station on Arduthie Road.

“The size of the store and social distancing requirements mean that only one customer is permitted to enter the premises at any given time.

“Customers have reported queues to enter the post office are often long and will grow as demand increases over the festive period.

“It has also been noted the Post Office on Arduthie Road provides fewer services than the Keystore branch did, with instances of customers having to travel to other branches outside Stonehaven to access certain services which were previously available locally.

“While my constituents fully appreciate the unprecedented demands of the Covid-19 outbreak, many feel the current postal service provisions are unsustainable for a town the size of Stonehaven.

“I would therefore be grateful if you could confirm that consideration is being given to the opening of a new in-store Post Office branch in Stonehaven town centre, with a return of full postal service provision for my constituents.”

Mr Kerr added: “The Post Office acts as a lifeline for groups such as local traders, the elderly and the vulnerable and it’s clear Stonehaven is being overlooked.

“For a town of Stonehaven’s size, the current Post Office provision which is operating from a petrol station is completely inadequate.

“It’s totally unacceptable for residents to be left high and dry, especially at a time where people are relying on postal services more than ever due to the current restrictions in place across the north-east.”

In a reply to Mr Kerr, the Post Office said it was determined to open a new branch in the town centre having “fully understood” the problems caused by the closure of the Keystore in April.

The organisation’s external affairs manager, Mark Gibson, said: “This is not something we wanted to happen or indeed is it something we would like to see happen. We fully understand the impact the closure of a post office can have on a community and I can assure you that we are committed to providing postal services to the residents of Stonehaven.

“In order for us to ensure continuity of service, we really need to find a potential new operator.

“Unfortunately, to date, we haven’t had any expressions of interest.”