Fife Post Office’s uncertain future as it prepares to close after operator's resignation
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Burntisland Post Office will shut tomorrow at 1.00pm after the resignation of its operator, Sarah Hathaway, who is also the leaseholder of the store, where it is based.
Her contract to run the town Post Office expires this month, and her lease on Murdoch’s comes to an end next month.
A statement from the Post Office has confirmed that it will close at lunchtime tomorrow, and it revealed that a potential new operator has now decided not to progress with an application.
Mid Scotland and Fife MSP Claire Baker, who met with Post Office representatives, raised her concerns over its future.
She said: “The Post Office advised last year that a new applicant was interested in the contract, but we are now days away from it closing and they have been unable to provide me with further information on when or even if it will re-open.
"The Post Office recognises the value to the local community but local people need clarity on whether the Burntisland Post Office has a secure future.
“For many people, Post Offices have provided a lifeline in terms of keeping in touch through the pandemic and they are often the only local option for financial and other services.
“Burntisland has a vibrant high street and the Post Office is a key part of its offer. I hope a new operator is found, but unfortunately at the moment there is still uncertainty over its future.”
Local businesses have expressed concerns over the loss.
Jo King from ‘Bring to the Party’, which is based in Burntisland, teaches small business owners how to network effectively online, showing them how to use social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook to promote and grow their businesses.
She said the loss of a Post Office in any small town is a massive loss for the community particularly as a point of contact for elderly or lonely people during a global pandemic.
Jo continued: “As a small, but entrepreneurial town we have over 100 businesses.
"Many are product based and will rely on the post office for shipping their wares - this will cause a loss of creating, baking, making, producing etc time if they then have to travel to a different town to visit another Post Office. From an environmental angle this is also a nightmare as they will most likely drive to ensure efficiency.
“Not only will it affect these businesses but the knock on effect to our currently thriving High Street could be huge. Often times people will need to go to the post office and while they are on the High Street they will nip into the butcher, stop and have a coffee or grab some bread.
"But if they don't need to go down, I worry they just won't.”
A Post Office spokesperson said: “The Postmaster for Burntisland has resigned and the branch is due to close tomorrow (26/1) at 1pm.
“There had been an interested applicant, however, they have now decided not to progress their application. We know how important a Post Office is to a community. The vacancy will be soon be re-advertised on www.runapostoffice.co.uk.
"In the interim alternative branches include Kinghorn, Aberdour and Linktown.”