News that Gretna Post Office is also to close, just days after the announcement of forthcoming closures of branches at Thornhill and Georgetown in Dumfries, is ‘another blow’ to communities in Dumfries and Galloway, according to local MSP Colin Smyth.
It was announced on Wednesday that the Gretna branch will close ‘temporarily’ following the resignation of the operator of the partner service and the withdrawal of the premises for post office use. The branch will close on 27 February.
As with Thornhill and Georgetown, the Post Office has said it is investigating all options to enable a reinstatement of service at the branch.
Colin Smyth said: “The news of the planned closure of the Gretna Post Office, following on from the announcements on Thornhill and Georgetown is really terrible news and another blow for our already struggling communities.
“What is also shocking is the Post Office has said that one the nearest branches for people in Gretna to use is in Longtown when it is currently against the law for people to cross the border except when it is really essential. It doesn’t look likely that this rule will have changed by February 27.
“While the Post Office has said these closures are only temporary, it has also admitted that there are currently no alternative providers identified. I am urging the Post Office to leave no stone unturned and proactively seek out an alternative as a matter of urgency.
“These latest closures would be a real blow to the communities in Gretna, Georgetown and Thornhill, and a further cut in the number of Post Offices across the region at a time numbers have already plummeted to a record low.
“Sadly, right across Dumfries and Galloway we have seen closure after closure of Post Offices and complete inaction by the Scottish and UK Government to protect these vital local services.
“The pandemic has had a massive impact on the retail sector and our Post Offices are no exception. It highlights the need to look again at what help is being provided to businesses to get through this pandemic and how we put in place proper support to maintain a Post Office network in the long term before we have further closures.”