Bo’ness post office closure bid: MP writes

postofficelogo LABOUR MP Michael Connarty has written an open letter to residents about the proposed closure of Grangepans Post Office – urging them to speak out. His letter is reprinted below:

Dear Constituent

Post Office Closure

It has come to my notice that Grangepans Post Office has been identified for closure by Post Office Ltd as part of its Network Change programme.  The Post Office Ltd argues that the Post Office at Grangepans is to close to another main Post Office to justify keeping it open.  They argue that there are other Post Offices, to which people can go, the nearest being at the centre of Bo’ness under half a mile away.

I have always been opposed to the closure of local post offices. I regard Post Office Ltd as a vital provider of services, particularly to more isolated communities and those services should not just be judged on a simple profit or loss basis. I do not think that */people who use the Grangepans Post Office will be adequately served by other Post Offices. I have heard no evidence that the Post Office at Grangepans is not busy enough to merit being kept open.

The Post Office argues that the Network Change programme is needed because Post Offices lost 4 million customers between 2004 and 2006.   The programme of closures was agreed with the National Federation of Sub-Postmasters and Post-mistresses, who’s Executive Council Member, Mr Andrew Gilhooley said:

“Our Members are resigned to the fact that if the business is going to survive it’s inevitable some Post Offices will close. They know when they see the volume of work dropping and sales reducing that something has got to be done.”

The local Postmaster at Grangepans does not agree with this proposal and has welcomed my decision to fight this closure with the support of local MSP, Cathy Peattie.  We hope that all local councillors will support the campaign and already Adrian Mahoney has pledged his support for a vital lifeline for people in the area, particularly pensioners, young families and people with disabilities.

There will now be a period of consultation, beginning on 19 August and lasting 6 (six) weeks. 

I would encourage anyone in the community and the surrounding area to make their views known. In a small number of cases, the decision has been revoked and the post office has remained open as a result of the public consultation.

In my experience these consultations are not often affected by simple petitions. They can, however, be influenced by letters from individuals, especially if they demonstrate that the proposals would cause hardship or if they have overlooked prospects for local business. If you or your friends and family use Grangepans Post Office and wish to put your point across I would encourage you to write directly to the consultation team. You can write to:

National Consultation Team
Post Office Ltd
FREEPOST CONSULTATION TEAM (no stamp required)
E-mail: network.change@postoffice.co.uk

Additionally, I am undertaking a survey of the views of constituents on the proposed closures. This will allow me to put a considered case to the Post Office which I hope will have more impact. I have enclosed a copy of my survey and I would encourage you to complete it and return it to the Grangepans Post Office or to my office.

Yours sincerely

Michael Connarty MP
Linlithgow & East Falkirk Constituency

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