Melrose residents must travel to Galashiels or Langlee to access a post office for the next three weeks, having been left without a service for the first time in 30 years.
The opening of a post office counter in Mason’s of Melrose bookshop in October 2018, was hailed a new chapter for the town, as it allowed old postmaster of 29 years John Collins to finally retire after several failed attempts to rehome the service.
However, the Market Square shop closed its doors last week having been sold by it owners of 11 years Tracey and David Mason.
And while Tracey had hoped the new buyer would take on the post office service within, she told The Southern today that will not be the case, and a new mobile service won’t start until next month.
“I am really disappointed that the person who has bought the shop originally wanted the post office too, but now they’re decided they don’t. It’s a shame and I really wish they hadn’t changed their mind.
“The loss of the post office will be really crushing for people. They don’t want to have to travel to Galashiels to use the service.”
Mrs Mason, who says the last 13 months at the helm of the post office have been “frustrating” for her and her two staff, claims recent talks between post office bosses and the town’s Spar convenience store proved unfruitful and says more needs to be done to encourage shops to take on the service.
“We certainly had lots of issues and the Post Office was not very cooperative or supportive,” she said. “If equipment provided by the post office broke down we couldn’t serve people. The whole thing should be made a lot more attractive to businesses.”
Tracey and her husband had been living in Clovenfords but recently returned to their home city.
She added: “We are living back up in Edinburgh as my husband is ill and we really needed just to simplify life.
“We really loved the shop. But I am sure the new owners will be really nice.
“Apparently they plan to continue it as a book shop, but will make some internal changes so it might not reopen until the new year.”
A Post Office spokesman said a mobile van will be in place from Monday, December 9.
He said. “The previous post office closed temporarily on Saturday, November 9, due to the resignation of the postmaster and withdrawal of premises for post office use.
“The mobile service will offer a wide range of products and services while we continue to seek a permanent solution for the area.”
Operated by the Denholm postmaster, the van will visit Melrose medical centre car park in St Dunstan’s Road each Monday from 2.45pm to 4.15pm; Tuesday 2.30pm to 4.15pm; Wednesday; 11am to 2.30pm and Thursday 2.45pm to 4.15pm.
This will impact on are making some changes to its current visits to Heriot, Oxton, Etterickbridge, Bowden and Bonchester Bridge Mobile services, from the week commencing Monday, December 9.”
Post Office change manager Gail Burnett said: “We understand how important having a Post Office service is to residents in Melrose and we are confident this mobile outreach service will meet their needs while we continue to seek a permanent solution.”