LOCAL MP Mike Weir has welcomed proposals to provide an outreach post office service in Ferryden but said the loss of the facility could have a knock-on effect.
His comments followed details released last week of the replacement service for the village’s post office which closed its doors in April.
Mr Weir, who is the SNP’s postal affairs spokesman, said it “remains to be seen” if the proposals will be sufficient for Ferryden’s needs and warned that the outreach arrangement could raise a question mark over other rural services.
Consultation began last week on the provision of an outreach service which would operate on two days from Inchbrayock Church Hall.
Post Office Ltd had to temporarily close the Ferryden branch following the resignation of the subpostmaster and the withdrawal of premises for Post Office use.
Owner Brian Noble closed the village shop, which he ran for five years, blaming the difficult economic climate, lack of use by residents and little or no passing trade.
The company said the new location, in Brownlow Place, is around 53 yards from its former branch.
The service, which would be available for five hours per week, will be run by the subpostmaster from the Montrose Street branch in Brechin. It is proposed to make facilities available between 9.30am and 12pm on Wednesdays and 1pm and 3.30pm on Fridays.
If accepted, the new service would begin in September.
Mr Weir said: “I’m glad there continues to be a post office service in Ferryden, albeit a very reduced one and it remains to be seen if the proposal will be sufficient for the village.
“It also raises questions outwith the village. During an earlier round of closures one of the justifications for introducing a smaller service in Inverkeilor was that Ferryden was relatively close, so it raises questions of whether or not there’s adequate coverage.
“There’s also the question of whether the main post office in Montrose can take up and deal with the extra business from the downgrading of the Ferryden service.”
Mr Weir added that he felt the outlook for post offices nationally, with the proposed privatisation of Royal Mail, also raised the issue of whether there would be another round of proposed closures on the grounds of viability.
He said: “We’ll have to see how the service goes, but in other areas where this has happened the services has been lost because the Post Office couldn’t find anyone to take it on. They at least have someone but two days isn’t the best service and people will have to use it to make sure that’s maintained.”
The consultation will run over the next month during which Post Office Ltd is seeking views on any issues the community would like to be considered including access and facilities at the new location, the proposed opening hours, the proposed days of service and local issues specific to Ferryden.
The closing date for submissions is August 23 and any comments or concerns should be addressed to Brian Turnbull, c/o Post Office Ltd, National Consultation Team, PO Box 2060, Watford, WD18 8ZW.