CONTROVERSIAL plans to close a Royal Mail delivery office would leave residents with miles to go to collect parcels, campaigners said today.
The Strathearn Road office in Marchmont is under threat as part of a Royal Mail review of its operations in the south of Edinburgh, which could mean customers having to trek to the offices at Bridge End, off Old Dalkeith Road, or in Slateford in order to pick up packages or sign for letters if they happen to be out when the postie calls.
The review follows the closure of the delivery office in Brunswick Road, off Leith Walk, in 2009.
Royal Mail says the latest review is about modernising its operations, but residents fear the move is prompted by a determination to save money.
Richard Brown, treasurer of the Grange Association, said: “The concern is this is just a cost-cutting exercise. They certainly cannot argue it’s improving the service to the public.
“There are a lot of elderly people live in the Grange and for many of them it’s going to be a huge imposition to have to go away down to Old Dalkeith Road, beyond Cameron Toll.
“And there are so many students in Marchmont buying stuff online, they will have to traipse away down there, too.
“Their argument is there is not enough parking at Strathearn Road, but most people walk there. That’s really the whole point. The current collection office is extremely well placed.”
Sue Tritton, secretary of Grange-Prestonfield Community Council, said many people did not have cars and would not be able to get to the alternative collection offices easily by public transport.
She said: “They are planning to take away a very useful local amenity and make things very difficult for people.”
Edinburgh South Labour MP Ian Murray said he was campaigning to keep the Strathearn Road office open.
He said: “I have been inundated by constituents who are rightly concerned about the Royal Mail’s proposed plans.
“Hundreds of local people use the collection service at the Strathearn Road office every month as they are out most of the day and cannot receive deliveries. These residents will now have to travel a considerable distance to the proposed new site, especially those without cars, who are elderly and disabled.”
Royal Mail spokeswoman Felicity MacFarlane, said: “No decision has been made and we are in discussion with our people and trade unions to consider options. These include a possible relocation to Edinburgh South Delivery Office or another Royal Mail site at Slateford Road.
“We will carefully consider the needs of our customers before a decision is made and continue to provide a consistent and high quality of service. One of the reasons for the review is the shortage of parking at the Strathearn Road site. Customers have to pay for on-street parking if they drive there and our delivery vehicles are being loaded on the main road as there is not sufficient parking at the delivery office site.”