“CAROLYN CHURCHILL and DAVID LEASK
Royal Mail is planning to create a network of part-time post offices across rural Scotland, leading campaigners to suspect it is plotting a new wave of closures by stealth.
The company, which has already announced swingeing cuts in its counter business, has signalled 500 UK post offices could be replaced by part-time or even mobile “outreach” services.
The reforms could see dozens of post offices downgraded in some of Scotland’s most remote and vulnerable communities.
This would be in addition to 44 branches in Greater Glasgow, Central Scotland and Argyll and Bute, which were earmarked for closure in the first Area Plan Proposals published for Scotland. Three rural villages in the Stirling area – Thornhill, Gargunnock and Buchlyvie – have already been warned of proposals to close their branches and offer alternative facilities during restricted hours.
Countryside campaigners fear the move amounts to another wave of cuts.A consultation period on the changes to the three branches is due to end next month. However, five other Area Plan Proposals have still to be published for Scotland.
Mike Rumbles, the MSP for much of rural Aberdeenshire and the Liberal Democrats spokesman on the country, said: “This would be fine if it was new supplementary post offices. But I don’t think part-time or mobile post-offices would be an adequate replacement for closed ones.
“I am deeply suspicious of this.”
Sandra White, the SNP MSP and critic of the Post Office’s closure plans, said last night she would be “desperately worried” about its latest proposals.”