The public have been asked to comment on plans unveiled this week to relocate postal services within the Markinch community.
Townsfolk can have their say as part of a six-week consutation process on proposals to move the current post office service from its location in Betson Street to a new set-up in the town’s Nisa Extra convenience store, which is situated in Balbirnie Street.
Operators say the relocation would allow the public to benefit from extended and Sunday opening hours, offering greater flexibility.
Suzanne Richardson, Post Office regional manager, said: “We understand how important having a post office is to residents in Markinch and we are confident this new service will meet the needs of the local community and secure services for the future.
“This modernisation is part of a major investment programme, the largest in the history of the Post office, and marks a commitment to no more branch closure programmes.”
But with the recent closure of the the town’s bank, fears are growing that the High Street is being left behind.
“While I welcome the commitment of the Post Office to maintain its services in Markinch, from the ‘consultation’ information that has been received, there remain many questions – particularly in the light of recent changes and experiences in Leslie, Thornton and Glenrothes Town Centre Post Offices.
Councillor John Beare, himself a Markinch resident, told the Gazette he will be seeking a meeting with Post Office management to understand fully all the implications of any change and to understand the totality of their proposals.
He said: “It may be that we are being offered a Hobson’s choice, ‘accept the move or lose the service’, which is not much of a choice and leaves the ‘consultation’ more like an exercise that has to be undertaken, than a meaningful consultation.
“The current Post Office and its staff are a long, established and respected part of the local community and any change to the service, particularly after the swift closure of the RBS branch in the town, will, of course, raise concerns in the community.”
Previous moves prove unpopular
Changes to counter services and relocation of similar post office services across the Glenrothes region have proved controversial and unpopular with many residents who use the local service.
Changes to the Pitteuchar service earlier in the year brought a flood of complaints to local councillor Ross Vettraino, who told the Gazette he had not received sufficient assurances that quality of service could be maintained.
Similar plans to modernise the service in Cadham brought similar complaints from residents.
In Leslie, there have been complaints by pensioners who were unable to collect their pension for two days.
The closure of the main post office in Glenrothes, with a relocation of a smaller counter service on the first floor above WH Smith in the town centre, has also proved highly unpopular with the Glenrothes public.