Fife town to remain without Post Office service for now
This week Post Office Limited confirmed it is “not currently able to progress any options to restore a Post Office service locally”.
The town’s last service closed in January 2022, after the postmaster resigned and withdrew the premises for Post Office use.
Since then the organisation has been looking at alternative options to offer services in the area, but to no avail.
A letter from Robert Sharp, Network Provision Lead, this week explained the current situation to local residents and businesses.
He said: "I can confirm that whilst we have had some local interest, we are not currently able to progress any options to restore a Post Office service locally. Post Office is facing a particularly challenging period, as are other high street retailers, with the impact of rising costs, inflation and restrictions on our funding from Government.
“We will continue to evaluate Post Office service provision in the area.
"We would of course consider any appropriate options if there are any significant changes in the area in the future. However due to the length of time the branch has been closed, we would need to satisfy ourselves that any new opportunity would be sustainable for Post Office Ltd and the operator.”
The closure of the town’s branch has been considered a “huge loss” to local residents and businesses and news that no new premises have yet been found will be disappointing.
Councillor Kathleen Leslie, Conservative councillor for the town, said: "It is disappointing to see that Burntisland will continue to remain without a Post Office.
"We know the national picture is such that many high street stores have closed and there has been a shift towards out of town retail parks and also an increase in online shopping - particularly since 2020. Unfortunately, and despite Burntisland being an example of a town with a busy and successful High Street, it appears that nobody has been able to take on and run a Post Office.
"I know that Post Office Ltd is asking for any suggestions on a way forward. Many smaller towns and villages have successfully incorporated a Post Office counter into a local grocery store so that could be something that ought to be considered going forward if a local shop was interested."
And her hope of potentially finding another solution to bring services back is echoed by others.
Labour councillor Julie MacDougall said: “It was a huge loss to our town when Burntisland Post Office closed last year and the impact this has had on our community. I am aware the Post Office have been exploring options for restoring the service however I appreciate the challenges particularly with the impact of energy costs, inflation and accessing Government funding. The post office are carrying out a Community Engagement exercise for any suggestions the public may have. In the meantime I will continue to work with them and support any business or organisation that may be a viable option and I would be happy to discuss any possibilities”.
While Alex MacDonald, chairman of the Royal Burgh of Burntisland Community Council, said: “I’m sure there is a business opportunity available for someone with the right mindset and the right location. Burntisland is one of only two locations in Fife where there are post office franchises currently available, so I’d like to think that there is someone out there with an eye for a new venture.”
Since the closure of the local branch, residents have had to travel further afield to access services with the nearest branches in Kinghorn and Aberdour.
Councillor Lesley Backhouse added that “the lack of a working Post Office in Burntisland is costing residents time and money in having to travel to Kinghorn or Aberdour to access the services.”