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Post Office Ltd Decision on Highland Area Plan - Highland Council

11th March 2008

The Highland Council is extremely disappointed at today's (11th March 2008) announcement that Post Office Ltd intends to proceed with closing 28 post offices across the Highland area. This will undoubtedly be a blow to many communities.

Post Office Ltd intends to proceed with 28 of the 29 closures proposed in the consultation. 11 of these closures will be replaced by an outreach service. The only post office which has been reprieved is the Pulteneytown office in Wick. The Council welcomes that Post Office Ltd does not propose to identify a further office for closure in its place.

Councillor Peter Cairns, Council spokesperson on Post Offices, said: "The Council is pleased for the people of the Pulteneytown area of Wick. However, there are a number of communities across the Highland area that have fought hard to retain their post office and the announcement today will be a significant disappointment for these communities.

"What Post Office Ltd has failed to understand is the impact these closures will have in the long term on many of our communities. In some, the removal of the post office will undermine the viability of the local shop and some communities will be left with no local services. The sustainability of Highland communities depend upon the availability
of local services. The Council made this very clear in our response to Post Office Ltd and it is extremely disappointing that this has been ignored."

The Council has submitted a copy of its response to Westminster's Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform committee who have been undertaking an Inquiry into the network reform consultation. The Council will continue to respond to further Inquiries to outline the flaws both in the consultation process and the principal of closure itself.

The Council intends to continue lobbying Post Office Ltd as it still maintains that the methodology Post Office Ltd have employed is fundamentally flawed and that there are large areas of Highland not meeting the Government's access criteria.

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