Disappointment as SPAR cuts Post Offices services at six Fife stores
The decision, which has been condemned by local politicians, will see the branches at Newport, Thornton, Balmullo, East Wemyss, St Andrews and Ladybank close.
The services are due to close later in 2021.
A SPAR spokesperson said: “This decision has been carefully considered and comes after 18 months of negotiations with Post Office Limited. It is unfortunate that we find ourselves in the position of having to change the services we offer over the next six months.
“As part of the SPAR Scotland company-owned stores estate, we will continue to invest in our staff to ensure our stores serve the communities in which they are based. We are constantly reviewing the services within our stores and the impact that Post Office counters have on our overall store operations. Unfortunately, in some instances it is not viable for us to continue to offer the service at our sites.”
A Post Office spokesperson said that it would look to find replacement solutions for the branches that are closing.
They added: “Post Offices play an important role in the heart of local communities across Scotland and we are disappointed that today SPAR Scotland announced that the counters they operate on our behalf will close at a number of their stores.
“The retail climate has been challenging for many retailers and we have worked closely with SPAR Scotland to help keep open essential Post Office services for their customers. At certain locations, there are nearby alternative Post Office branches but we recognise that for some particularly older people they may not be easily accessible. We will look for replacement solutions both on a temporary or permanent basis for those branches that close.
“In total, 31 of SPAR Scotland’s branches will close and 17 will remain open. We are awaiting formal confirmation about the timescales for the affected branches before we inform local communities impacted.”
St Andrews councillor Brian Thomson described the announcement as “disappointing”, adding: “It appears that commercial considerations have been put before the needs of the communities served by these facilities. Whilst St Andrews - unlike some of the smaller affected towns and villages - still has the Post Office in WHSmith in the town centre, it will still be very inconvenient for many local residents who currently walk to, or find easy parking at the counter at Tom Morris Drive.
“Whilst I appreciate that Spar have a business to run, many of those using the counters will be spending money on items in the shops when they use the counters, and it's disappointing that measures have not been agreed between the company and the Post Office to avert the closures."
Levenmouth councillor John O’Brien added: “The people of East Wemyss have been dealt another sad blow. They have already lost their bank; now they are to lose their Post Office. Where are people now to collect their pension and benefits? They have been forgotten about.”