Earlston residents have welcomed the reintroduction of post office services to the town this month, almost a year after they were withdrawn.
The post office counter within One Stop store on High Street ceased last March after the postmaster’s resignation.
But services returned to the village last week, in the form of a mobile service provided by the Denholm postmaster.
The van, operating outside The Red Lion in The Square from 1.45pm to 3.45pm each Wednesday and 2pm to 4pm each Friday, has been welcomed by Earlston Community Council, which has been lobbying for services to return after the “disappointing” loss last year.
Secretary Sheila Gibb said “It’s been difficult for residents and business owners who have had no option other than to travel further afield.
“As soon as the service was lost the community council and ward councillors, especially Tom Miers, began to explore the possibility of another local retail partner taking the work on.
“He has worked closely on our behalf with the Post Office and although a number of businesses expressed an interest no permanent home has been found so far.” She added that so far the response to the van has been very positive, and added: “We are very grateful to Ritchie Grierson for allowing parking at the pub. It’s great that so central a location has been found.
“While the reintroduction of the service is very welcome, its good to know that the Post Office is continuing to search for a more permanent solution.”
The van is fully accessible for disabled people and offers the same services and products as the town previously had. But its secondment to Earlston has meant minor changes to the current services it offers in Norham and Greenlaw.
The Post Office says it still hopes to find a new permanent home for its services, and Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale MSP Christine Grahame is urging any local businesses able to host the service to come forward.
She added: “I’m glad that the post office will be returning to Earlston in some form, but I don’t believe that mobile units are a viable long term solution,” she said. “The hours are, by necessity, limited and the service is subject to disruption in bad weather when the units can struggle on icy roads.
“I remain hopeful a long-term solution can be found but it will take continuing engagement from the local community and the Post Office to find an appropriate solution.”
Post Office network operations manager Graham Turnock said: “We understand how important having a post office service is to residents in Earlston, and we are confident this mobile outreach service will meet their needs while we continue to seek a permanent solution.”