Campaigners have hailed a “community victory” after the Royal Mail performed a U-turn on controversial plans to close a sorting office.
Proposals to shut the Strathearn Road office in Marchmont were met with anger by residents, who said they would have to make long journeys to Old Dalkeith Road or Slateford to pick up packages or sign for letters if they missed the postman.
A “save the sorting office” campaign was led by residents group the Grange Association and politicians – and the Royal Mail has now confirmed the depot will be kept open for the “foreseeable future”.
Richard Brown, treasurer of the Grange Association, said: “We are very pleased that the association has been able to act on behalf of so many people who were very upset that they were going to have to trek out to the offices at Cameron Toll or Slateford if they had to pick up a package when they had a perfectly good facility here.
“And it wasn’t just for ourselves [in the Grange]. There’s a lot of students in Marchmont who order things online who would have found themselves having to go a very long way to pick up parcels if this had gone ahead.”
Mr Brown said it was a victory for community campaigning and for common sense – and hailed the Evening News for covering the battle.
He said: “We had a lot of help from Ian Murray MP and Jim Eadie MSP and the publicity we got from the story in the Evening News certainly helped.”
Royal Mail had proposed the closure as part of a review of operations in south Edinburgh.
Ian Murray, Labour MP for Edinburgh South, said: “I’m delighted that the Royal Mail have taken into account the strong feelings of local residents in our ‘save the sorting office’ campaign.
“The sorting office is very busy and provides a valued services for the elderly, disabled and residents who cannot receive parcels during the working day.
“Our campaign to keep it open has been successful and I want to thank the Royal Mail for listening to residents and the Grange Association. Our campaign shows that positive decisions can be made when local residents provide a strong voice.”
Jim Eadie, MSP for Edinburgh Southern, said he had surveyed 2000 local households about the plans and was “left in no doubt about the strength of opposition to this closure” after 90 per cent of respondents were against it.
He said: “This is fantastic news and a great result for the local community who have campaigned to save this vital service.
“I am delighted that the Royal Mail has seen sense and not only listened to but acted upon the views of local people.
“This is a victory for common sense and safeguards an essential local service which people rely on.
“We need to ensure that we retain the footfall of people shopping within our local communities to support local businesses.”
Royal Mail delivery director Paul Kelly said: “After careful consideration of the key areas involved, a full assessment has been made and we have decided that a merger of the two delivery offices will not progress at the moment.
“Our people and unions have been told of this decision.”