Local Labour politicians are calling for a permanent solution for the future of Annan Road Post Office in Dumfries, after plans were ditched to relocate the Post Office to Rosevale Street.
Last week Dumfries and Galloway MP Russell Brown spoke with Post Office Management to express concern at the proposals and to highlight flaws over the consultation process, after it was revealed that the consultation document sent to the local MP and local councillors wrongly claimed that “There would be a frequent bus service from current premises to the proposed premises” when in fact there are no buses between the two locations and also wrongly stated that the new Post office was “0.7 miles way from the current branch, along level terrain” when in fact there are two hills on the route.
Following discussions with the local MP and the public backlash, the Post Office have announced it won’t be going ahead with the move but now Russell Brown is urging the Post Office to stay in the existing location.
Russell Brown said, “I am pleased that the Post Office have listened to the local community and ditched plans to move the Post Office to the proposed new location. This is a victory for local residents, many of whom are elderly and who rely on the Annan Road Post Office. However, in many ways this is a stay of execution and Post Office is still actively seeking alternative premises in the vicinity, but in my view the Post Office should be looking to overcome any difficulties and remain within the existing premises, which is what the local community wants.”
The MP blames the Post Office’s policy of introducing Post Office “Local” and “Main” branches, which is a new model of service whereby the Post Office counter is merged with the retail check out, reducing costs.
Russell Brown added, “I know that the proposals for the move were as a result of the Post Offices determination to introduce their Post Office Local model, which merges the Post Office counter with the shop counter to save money. However, if that’s the direction of travel the Post Office want to move in then they should be discussing that option with the owners of the Annan Road shop, not trying to move out. I will be meeting with Post Office Management to discuss this in more detail and I hope they will agree to ditch plans to move out of the Annan Road premises”.
Local Councillor Colin Smyth, Chair of Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Planning, Housing and Environment Services Committee , which has responsibility for bus services, called on the Post Office to learn lessons from their failed consultation process.
Colin Smyth said, “It beggars belief that the Post Office could have published a consultation process that was so inaccurate. They claimed there is a frequent bus service from the existing Post Office on the Annan Road to the proposed new Post Office on Rosevale Street, when that’s simply not the case. They also stated that the proposed new premises were 0.7 miles away from the Annan Road and the route was along flat terrain, when the reality is the proposed new premises are actually on top of a hill. The Post Office need to take a long hard look at their consultation process and learn lessons when they get basic errors like this wrong . In the meantime, they need to totally re-think this move, not just give the existing Post Office a temporary reprieve”.