Answers sought on service return

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BOTH Ferryden community councillors and local elected members are pressing for a timescale for the return of the village’s Post Office services.

At their meeting last week members expressed concern that the services, based in the village shop, disappeared at the end of April with the resignation of the sub-postmaster.

The shop was closed recently as Brian Noble, who ran it for five years, claimed it was uneconomical and would need to make at least another £400 per week to make trading viable.

Local councillor David May said he had been in touch with Post Office Ltd., which “had not given substantial reasons” for the withdrawal of services.

In a letter to Councillor May, Pat Long, of the company’s customer care department, confirmed the service was closed “temporarily” due to the resignation of the sub-postmaster but added that it would be important for any future service to be sustainable for the person operating it.

She said: “Post Office Limited must therefore make sure that any future service reflects the numbers and types of customer using the service locally and in situation such as this it may be that Post Office Limited will seek to establish an alternative type of service.

“There are currently a number of new models which are successfully operating nationwide. These include outreach services which are operated by a sub-postmaster from a nearby branch, with hours of opening set to reflect the likely number of customers who will use the service or a Post Office local service which runs alongside an established local shop.”

Rose Mallie suggested a move of services to the shop on Rossie Island Road could be a possible alternative. She also pointed out that the Post Office was well used at Christmas time by people from Montrose as an overflow for the town’s service, but Mr May said he doubted that would be a suitable location for many elderly people in the village.

He said: “Outreach means it would be open for a certain number of hours per week and it would be a matter of liaising with a community facility to host it.

“At least it would still be in the village which I would say is preferable to having it outwith the village and would keep it as locally as possible.

“When I contacted them I raised a number of issues, one being when it was proposed to re-open but it could be an extended period of time before anything happens. I think people in the village will be looking for an early answer to this.”

Alastair Pullar, who lives in Ferryden, said the loss of the Post Office service and the shop was “deplorable”.

He said: “It was a focal point and people from South Esk Court did their week’s shopping there. I found out it was closing on the Tuesday before it closed and at that time the girl behind the counter had just been told. No-one had any alternative but to accept the situation and I think that’s deplorable.

“It’s not just the fact it has happened, it’s how it has happened.”

Members agreed to contact Post Office Ltd., to try to pin down a timescale for a return of services and what those services are likely to be.

Although the community council’s meeting will be on September 1, secretary Gordon Paterson said he would keep members up to date with any replies received.