Closure-threatened post offices across Tayside and Fife have been granted a last minute reprieve.
Counters at Menzieshill in Dundee, Ladybank, St Andrews and Luncarty were facing the axe this month after retail giant Spar Scotland decided to stop running them.
Last month’s shock announcement left staff “mystified” and caused concern and anger amongst local residents.
But now all four local branches have won a stay of execution after an eleventh hour deal was struck with Spar management. It followed pressure from Tayside politicians, including Deputy First Minister John Swinney.
A total of 18 outlets throughout Scotland have been spared, although their long-term futures remain uncertain.
A Post Office spokeswoman said: “The retail climate is extremely challenging, however, both Spar Scotland and the Post Office are committed to working together to develop a commercially sustainable solution that maintains access to post office services for customers and businesses.
“Post offices play an important role in the local community and we are committed to working together to find a permanent solution for these 18 branches.”
Mr Swinney, MSP for Perthshire North, and Ochil and South Perthshire SNP MP John Nicholson made a plea to Spar Scotland when the Luncarty closure was announced.
Mr Swinney said: “When I wrote to management regarding the potential closure, I made clear that having access to a local Post Office was essential, particularly during a pandemic.
“To that end, I am thankful that my concerns have been taken on board. I am now hopeful that steps can be taken to ensure the long-term viability of the Luncarty Post Office.”
Mr Nicholson said that Spar had assured that options were being explored to continue facilities in the area.
“Perth and Kinross has already suffered a number of bank closures in the past year and in the midst of a pandemic, the post office is now more vital than ever.”
Dundee councillor Charlie Malone, who described the planned closure of Menzieshill as the final nail in the coffin for a “forgotten” community, has welcomed the reprieve.
He said: “This is great news for the residents of Menzieshill and beyond.
“I voiced my concerns about the threat to the continued operation of the Post Office at Spar in Orleans Place and I am pleased that an accommodation has been reached.
“Post Offices are part of the fabric of a community, its loss would have been greatly felt. I am sure users of the Post Office will be delighted.”