Abronhill Post Office looks set for service reduction as part of UK Post Office shake-up

Written by Scott Campbell. Scott Campbell
Published at 21:45 on 25 April 2014.
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Major changes for Abronhill PO. Picture: Cumbernauld Media.

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RESIDENTS of Abronhill – already affected by the soon-to-be closure and demolition of Abronhill High School, two nurseries and a potential drop in house values – are set to take another hit, as the Post Office looks set to be significantly downgraded. 

Abronhill’s local post office service is looking like it me be significantly scaled back, or cut altogether, as Post Office Ltd confirm intentions to downsize the service currently available at the area’s sub-post office.

Currently, Abronhill residents have a sub-post office in the RS McColl’s unit at Abronhill Shopping Centre, in Pine Road. However, controversial plans look set to be given the nod; plans which will see the area’s sub-post office downgraded to merely one single till point.

The post office’s owners, Post Office Ltd, have confirmed the suggestions are accurate, and claim that the proposals would lead to extended opening hours and retention of the majority of services provided by the sub-post office, in unit 12 of Abronhill Shopping Centre.

Under the plans, Abronhill Post Office would have its services reduced from a full sub-post office service to a single till point, in a shake-up of nationwide services which reduced services at other local sub-post offices in Balloch, Eastfield and Croy, several months ago.

A Post Office spokeswoman said that the plans for Abronhill’s post officer were part of a modernisation programme that was being pursued across the UK, in a bid to radically shake-up post office services.

The spokeswoman said: “We are currently consulting with customers regarding the proposed changes at Pine Road Post Office branch. 

“Our proposals would ensure that the vast majority of services remain,” the spokeswoman insisted.

“This includes first and second class mail and free cash withdrawals from POCA and wider banking partner accounts. Customers will also benefit from longer opening hours including extended hours on Wednesday and Saturday afternoons,” the spokeswoman added.

A final decision on the future of Cumbernauld’s crown post office, in Cumbernauld town centre, is yet to be announced. However, Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East’s Labour MP says that the latest plans being looked into by the Post Office would dish out “another blow” for customers across Abronhill and Cumbernauld.

Gregg McClymont said: “Coming on top of the plans to franchise Cumbernauld Crown Post office this is another blow to local post office services.

“My understanding is that the Abronhill community will now no longer be able to access services such as Passport Check & Send as well as now lacking dedicated Post Office counters.”

The latest development over changes to Abronhill’s sub-post office comes after North Lanarkshire Council put out the £400,000 contract to demolish Abronhill High School out to tender. 

According to the authority’s public notice: “The Project is for the demolition of a brick built school having a flat roof, varying from one to three storeys and having a footprint of approximately 5500 m2.” 

The notice goes on: “All foundations are to be removed. The building needs to be soft stripped prior to demolition (as part of the demolition contract) including the removal of large areas of ceiling tiles, artex coatings and numerous areas containing ACM black panels or heat shields.”

In recognition of the school campus’s proximity to local amenities in central Abronhill, the notice adds: “The school is located within an area of private / council housing adjacent to a small shopping centre. There is only one entrance / exit from the school grounds.”

North Lanarkshire Council say that the successful bidder will have duties including ‘Asbestos Removal’, ‘Buildings’ works and ‘other Works - Construction, Repair and Maintenance’; with the authority estimating the contract to be worth £400,000.

Applications are now being taken by the authority, with the deadline of noon on May 6th, 2014 confirmed. The authority estimates that the contract will be awarded around July 7th, 2014, which suggests that Abronhill High School could be torn down by this winter.

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