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‘Spar couldn’t care less…’ Politicians react to plan to axe 9 Post Office counters in Tayside and Fife

Post Office closures
Post Offices will close across Tayside and Fife.

Communities have been urged to consider whether they shop at Spar following the announcement it is closing nine Post Office counters across Tayside and Fife.

Labour MSP Alex Rowley said the retailer is driven purely by profit and could not care less about the people who use its services.

Post Office Closures
Alex Rowley.

Mr Rowley is one of several politicians to express bitter disappointment at the closure of the “lifeline” counters within Spar stores.

Both North East Fife MSP Willie Rennie and Kirkcaldy MSP David Torrance fear it will leave many people stranded with no access to services.

And all three now plan to put pressure on the Post Office to come up with a plan to ensure communities are not abandoned.

Six of the post office counters on Spar’s hit list are in Fife – Thornton, East Wemyss, Balmullo, Ladybank, Newport-on-Tay and St Andrews.

Branches in Luncarty and Stanley in Perthshire will also shut, along with one in Menzieshill in Dundee.

Luncarty Post Office within Spar is to close.

The news comes less than five months after Spar closed the post office counter at its Halbeath branch in Dunfermline, despite a community campaign to keep it.

Spar said closing the loss-making counters will help ensure stores continue to operate.

But Mr Rowley commented: “Spar as a company couldn’t care less about the impact on communities.

“They’re only interested in making money. People should bear that in mind in terms of where they shop.”

He added: “It’s up to people whether they shop there or not given their attitude.”

The Mid Scotland and Fife MSP will speak to Post Office bosses in a bid to persuade them to open alternative services in affected communities.

“The Post Office has a duty to ensure people can get access to services,” he said.

‘Communities need a local post office’

Mr Rennie also called for an “urgent review” of Post Office business arrangements.

“This will leave a massive hole in Newport, Balmullo, St Andrews Tom Morris Drive and Ladybank, which are big communities that need a local post office,” said the Liberal Democrat MSP.

Willie Rennie.

“So many people will be left stranded with no local access to these important services.

“There must be an urgent review of the Post Office business arrangements so that we can not only restore services to these communities but also save others from this threat in future.”

Mr Torrance’s Kirkcaldy constituency will lose two branches – Thornton and East Wemyss, which also lost its bank recently.

The SNP MSP is “extremely disappointed” by the news.

David Torrance.
David Torrance.

“Post offices are a lifeline in small towns and villages, especially in places like East Wemyss,” he said.

“A lot of these towns have an elderly population that relies heavily on the Post Office to do their transactions.

“In many cases it’s extremely difficult for them to commute into bigger towns like Kirkcaldy.”

‘Better served in Victorian times’

Local councillors also expressed shock at the news.

East Wemyss SNP councillor John O’Brien said it was devastating for the community.

“We’ve lost our bank and now we’re losing our post office,” he said.

“We’re going back 100 years – we were better served in Victorian times.”

St Andrews Labour councillor Brian Thomson is concerned many elderly people will now find it difficult to access post office services.

“The nearest branch is now in the town centre in South Street, which is part of WH Smith,” he said.

“It’s really disappointing.

“It means people will have to take a car into town and that leads to problems with parking.

“It’s really, really inconvenient for people.”

EXCLUSIVE: SPAR to axe 9 Post Offices counters in Tayside and Fife

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