Melrose Post Office to stay put for now

Melrose Post Office, Buccleuch Road. Postmaster John Collins.
Melrose Post Office, Buccleuch Road. Postmaster John Collins.

The future of post office services in Melrose looks uncertain after plans to relocate the town’s post office to Abbey Mill were scrapped this week.

Proposals to move the post office 350 metres from Buccleuch Street to the Annay Road site back in August were met with objections during a six-week consultation period, so postal bosses have now abandoned them.

Abbey Mill, Annay Road, Melrose.

Abbey Mill, Annay Road, Melrose.

Post Office regional network manager Suzanne Richardson said: “We received 31 individual responses from customers regarding the proposal.

“In the main, comments focussed on the location of the proposed new premises on the outskirts of the town.

“Local views were that the proposed location would be difficult to access, particularly for elderly residents, as it was not within easy walking distance, poor car parking and that there was a busy road to cross.

“The branch will therefore continue to operate from its existing location for the time being.”

Melrose’s postmaster of the last 28 years, John Collins, had expected to complete his final shift this month in order to retire and relocate closer to family near Falkirk.

Although eager to make the move, he has vowed to stay in place until a suitable home for the post office is found.

He said: “There is another interested party in the offing, and I will have my fingers and toes crossed that I don’t have to see my 69th birthday here.

“I could walk away tomorrow, but I don’t want to do that.

“I have been here a long time, and the public has been good to me, so I want to see something in place before I go.

“The Post Office does appreciate my situation and is pulling out all the stops to get this resolved quickly.”

Melrose Community Council treasurer Graham Barker added: “We don’t want to lose the post office.

“We were of the opinion that the Abbey Mill maybe was not the correct place due to the accessibility issues, but it was better than not having it at all or having a van one day a week.

“I suppose the worry is that if John decides he can’t wait any longer and retires, if they don’t find somewhere else, do we get it back again?”

Borders MSP Christine Grahame added: “I am pleased to see that common sense has prevailed here.

“Many of my constituents were concerned that the Abbey Mill site was out of the way and would have been less accessible for people with limited mobility. I agree.

“I am calling on the Post Office to make a long-term commitment to Melrose. It is essential that a full range of postal services remain available in the town.”