KELSO looks set to lose one of its two travel agencies, along with four jobs, as a result of restructuring by holiday giant Thomas Cook.
Operated under the Co-operative Travel banner – which is owned by Thomas Cook – the shop in The Square is just one of 195 premises across the UK earmarked for closure by the company, with the potential loss of 2,500 jobs.
The news was greeted with disappointment in the town and by its three Scottish Borders councillors and local MP Michael Moore.
“I am very sorry for the staff who will lose their jobs through no fault of their own. They have provided an excellent, friendly service but, unfortunately, are the victims of corporate decision-making elsewhere,” said Councillor Simon Mountford (Con).
“I understand the reasons why Thomas Cook is closing branches around the UK, but that is no consolation to the employees concerned.”
His comments were echoed by fellow Conservative elected member, Tom Weatherston.
“This is very disappointing news for the town and for the staff of this shop. The shop and the staff were very popular and will be missed by everyone who used their friendly service,” he said. “I hope they manage to find other employment soon – this is a worrying time for town-centre traders and I hope we get a good summer and things start to pick up.”
Councillor Alec Nicol (LD) added: “I am very disappointed that Thomas Cook and the Co-op Travel branch is closing. I use them myself and the staff could not be more helpful.
“Kelso has received great holiday services from this shop and I feel very sorry for the staff if they lose their jobs after the 90-day consultation period.”
Mr Moore has urged the company to ensure affected staff are given the support they need.
“A 90-day consultation exercise will be held on the plans and I am calling on Co-operative Travel to reconsider this decision and save the branch in Kelso,” Mr Moore added.
The closure would leave the town with just one travel agent, Kelso Travel, in Roxburgh Street.