Melrose’s post office is set to be relocated this autumn, almost a year after the last attempt to rehome the service fell through.
The town’s postmaster of the last 29 years, John Collins, had expected to complete his final shift last November in order to retire and move closer to family near Falkirk.
However, after plans to relocate the Buccleuch Street post office to Abbey Mill in Annay Road were abandoned at the 11th hour due to community opposition over the 350-metre move, John vowed to stay in place until a suitable new home was found.
And that home has now been confirmed as just 180 metres uptown in Market Square.
Bookshop Masons of Melrose’s owners have struck a deal with Post Office chiefs and will provide a counter within their store from October 23.
Tracey and David Mason, of Clovenfords, say they first thought about taking on the service before the Abbey Mill move fell through but only put the wheels in motion last November.
“We are quite excited about it,” Tracey said. “We think it will bring a great increase in footfall for us. It will bring people into the bookshop that would never normally visit.
“We will be able to offer longer hours as we don’t close for lunch.
“We feel that the location of the bookshop is ideal because it is much easier to find, parking is better and it’s better for tourists.
“It will be convenient and a really successful thing for the town and for us.”
The local-style branch will offer services throughout shop opening hours from an open-plan till at the shop counter instead of from a separate screened counter.
The shop, opened by the couple 10 years ago, already employs one full-time member of staff, and from October it will take on another full-time worker and a part-timer.
Tracey added: “We will be changing the back counter, which is where the post office stuff will be located with all the relevant security gates attached.
“We’ll get new signs up and a portable ramp installed.”
It will operate during the shop’s usual opening hours from 9.30am to 5pm Monday to Saturday.
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A Post Office spokesperson said: “The move is in agreement with the current postmaster and is part of major modernisation programme across the Post Office network designed to make it easier for customers to do business, through longer opening hours and modern open-plan environments.
“Although the decision to relocate the branch has already be taken, we are inviting customers and interested parties to give their comments on the move in a six-week public consultation.”
Customers can comment until Thursday, October 4, online at postofficeviews.co.uk, citing the branch code 113830, by post to Freepost Your Comments or by calling 03452 660115.