CUMBERNAULD Town Centre could soon have another empty unit as the Post Office franchise re-consider how they deliver services through their thousands of nationwide branches.
Last week the Post Office announced that they would begin to plan for the future, looking at “the biggest business transformation” ever undertaken by the franchise.
The change now means that selected branches could be moved, some into already pre-existing local businesses or offices.
A spokesman for the Post Office said: “We are currently undertaking the biggest business transformation programme in the history of the Post Office. Our overall investment will maintain the size of the network and modernise branches to meet customer needs. Crown branches are a fundamental part of our long term growth strategy and need to be brought into profit (currently operating at a £40m annual loss). To maintain our high street presence we will be looking to find retail partners for 70 of our branches enabling us to stay in these locations.
“The 70 branches that have the potential to be partnered with a retailer will be subject to a six week public consultation to gather the views of the local community. We are committed to having a Post Office branch within the area.”
The shake-up could mean that the familiar Cumbernauld Town Centre Post Office could be calling final collection, although the Post Office have stressed that the strategy is not a “closure programme”.
The spokesman added: “The Post Office successfully works with many retail partners. We already have over 3,000 branches across the UK where customers are accessing services in this way. If no retail partner is found we are still committed to having a Crown Post Office within the area. This is not a closure programme and there are no compulsory redundancies planned as part of this strategy.”
No final decision has been taken on a potential closure of the Cumbernauld Post Office, and it is understood that no alternative location has been discussed. Despite this, however, local politicians are determined to keep the Post Office going.
The town’s MP, Gregg McClymont said: “As soon as the consultation exercise starts, I am calling on local residents to make their views known to the Post Office Ltd.
“The loss of services at our main Post Office will hit communities in Cumbernauld hard. This is a vital asset for many local people and these plans can’t simply be a cover for a reduction in services or cost cutting closures.
“I am seeking an urgent meeting with the Post Office Limited to discuss what this means for local people,” he added.
SNP MSP for Cumbernauld and Kilsyth, Jamie Hepburn MSP is also opposing the plans.
“This is an extremely well-used facility, and the closure of the Kildrum Post Office was in part predicated on the location of the town centre branch,” he said.
“Indeed, given how busy it can be there, I would have thought there is in fact an argument for increasing capacity there.
“It isn’t immediately clear to me as to how co-locating that branch with another retailer will ensure that existing demand can be met. Guarantees in that regard must be provided by the Post Office if this suggestion is taken forward,” he added.
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