A Perth postmaster has announced plans to close his Post Office branch less than two years after it opened.
Ian Morgan says he has reached “the end of the road” with the Post Office and expects the Bridgend branch to close in early April.
Mr Morgan blames the shock move on the branch experiencing “far less footfall than expected”.
And he says the fact the Post Office mobile van services nearby Scone twice a week is a major factor.
He has also cited a “total debacle” over attempts to provide DVLA forms at the branch.
The Post Office says it doesn’t believe the issues have significantly impacted Bridgend branch but will continue talks with the postmaster.
The decision comes hard on the heels of Post Office closures in Stanley and Luncarty and the community says it is devastated.
Meanwhile Mr Morgan stressed that while his Post Office service is closing, the News Direct store, from which the Post Office operates, will remain open.
Why has Mr Morgan applied to close the branch?
While the mobile van in Scone is one of the main issues, Mr Morgan says the “total debacle” of the Bridgend branch’s application to provide DVLA services has also contributed to his decision.
In a letter to the Post Office, he said: “We are a fully functioning Post Office (plus) and having had to fight (successfully) for the ability to provide DVLA services to the area we find ourselves still low on sessions and experiencing far less footfall than we expected.
“Why? Well, we did fairly extensive research into why this should be and have come up with what we think is perhaps not the only reason but certainly a major factor.
“The mobile van is still servicing Scone twice per week.
“I knew the mobile van was temporary as was confirmed to me by a Post Office official last week, but it was my understanding that temporary meant until Bridgend got established.
“Had I known that this wasn’t the case, I would never have signed up for it in the first place.”
Commenting, a Post Office spokesperson said: “Bridgend Post Office in Perth is open as normal.
“Since opening in September 2020, there has been a steady increase in people using this branch.
“There is a mobile service twice a week for Scone for two hours a week, and we do not believe that this significantly impacts on Bridgend branch.
“We will continue to engage with the postmaster for Bridgend.”
Community is devastated
The Bridgend, Gannochy and Kinnoull Community Council has expressed its disappointment with the latest Perth Post Office closure.
But it praised Mr Morgan’s efforts to make the branch work.
Vice chairperson Dave Beattie said: “Our community council and community are devastated with the demise of the Post Office.
“We are very vexed that despite heroic efforts by Mr Morgan, it has not been possible to make this business viable.
“Mr Morgan, apart from (almost) establishing a much-needed Post Office on this side of the river, was a leading light in attempts to tidy up and add colour and brightness to Main Street.”
Councillor Peter Barrett said the news has “come as a shock”.
He added: “The Post office, newsagents and card shop have really helped revitalise the Bridgend area.
“I will be contacting Mr Morgan to see if there is any assistance that the council can provide.”
Other Perthshire Post Office closures
The Perth Post Office closure announcement comes just months after the it was announced that two other Perthshire branches would permanently close.
In June, Spar said it would close nine Post Office counters in Tayside and Fife, which included the Luncarty and Stanley branches.
In Fife, Post Office closures affected Thornton, East Wemyss, Balmullo, Ladybank, Newport-on-Tay and St Andrews communities.
Meanwhile, in Dundee, Menzieshill locals lost their branch.