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New post office being delivered to Petersburn.

Byline: IAN BUNTING

Politicians and members of the community have welcomed the impending return of post office facilities to Petersburn.

Last June, the Advertiser reported on the "temporary" closure of the area's branch due to the "resignation of the postmaster and the withdrawal of the premises for post office use".

But it has now been confirmed that a "modern open-plan retail environment" post office in Forrest Street will open its doors on March 26.

Members of the public are being invited to give their feedback on the "new style" facility until February 19.

And Petersburn man Greg Kerr, who has lived in the area for more than two decades, contacted the Advertiser to share his cautious optimism over the welcome developments.

He said: "I am very pleased that Petersburn will once again have a post office.

"The last few months have been challenging for local people, especially elderly residents, who have had to travel into Airdrie town centre to use post office facilities.

"Because Greengairs post office was supposed to be temporarily closed and is still shut, I was convinced we'd never see a post office in Petersburn again.

"The new facility will mean a lot to the community and a lot of people will be heading along to use it on a regular basis.

"I just hope that this is a long-term solution for Petersburn and that we're not here again a year or two from now lamenting the closure of another post office."

The new post office in Petersburn will have "longer opening hours" and offer "post office products and services throughout shop opening hours from an open-plan till at the shop counter instead of a separate screened counter".

When the move goes ahead, the branch will open seven days a week; from 8am to 9.30pm on Monday to Thursday; 8am to 10pm on Friday; 9am to 10pm on Saturday; and 9am to 9.30pm on Sunday.

Mandy Neeson, post office area network change manager, said: "We are making it easier for customers to get their cash, send and collect their mail and do their banking because we know how important these services are to local residents.

"We are confident that this vibrant, new-style post office at the heart of the local community will meet customers' needs."

Central Scotland MSP Richard Leonard was a vocal critic of the decision to close the Petersburn facility last summer and, along with Airdrie South councillor Ian McNeil, sent a letter to the chief executive of the post office calling for the closure to be reversed until an alternative operator could be found.

Responding to the new facility, the Scottish Labour leader said: "The post office provides vital services for the community and that is why it's important to have it as local as possible.

"This has not be the case in Petersburn for some months and that is why, along with Councillor McNeil, I called on the post office not to abandon the people of Petersburn.

"We welcome the news of the reopening of post office facilities to serve the Petersburn community."

Airdrie MSP Alex Neil played his part in the restoration of Calderbank post office services last October and welcomed the return of facilities to Petersburn.

He said: "I am delighted that Petersburn post office will re-open at a new location - and for longer hours.

"The loss of the post office in Petersburn was a bitter blow to many who relied on the services it provided.

"The fact the service will return in March will be warmly welcomed and supported by local residents."

Although the decision to reopen the Petersburn branch has already been taken, the post office is inviting customers and interested parties to give their comments on the move.

Feedback can be shared online at postofficeviews.co.uk with the branch code 249855 up until February 19.

Greg Kerr is urging his fellow Petersburn residents to raise any comments or concerns they may have about the new facility.

He said: "While the new post office and its facility suits me perfectly, there may be others who have issues with it.

"This is also a chance for people to ask any questions they may have as to exactly what services they will be able to use at the post office, and how often.

"Now is the time to raise these matters as, once the post office is open and unveiled, there will be very little chance to potentially change anything.

"Now that we are getting a post office back, it's vital that we do all we can to make sure it's to the benefit of everyone who will be using it."

CAPTION(S):

BattleMr Leonard and Councillor McNeil at the old Petersburn post office
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Publication:Airdrie and Coatbridge Advertiser (Lanarkshire, Scotland)
Date:Jan 30, 2019
Words:786
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