Calls for new Post Office home after sudden resignation in Earlston

One Stop convenience store, Earlston.
One Stop convenience store, Earlston.

Earlston has become the latest Borders town to be left without a post office following the unexpected resignation of its postmaster last week.

Arfan Tariq, who ran the service from within his One Stop convenience store with his wife and brother, ceased Post Office counter services on Wednesday and the Post Office equipment has now been removed from the store in the town’s High Street.

Both Scottish Borders Council and Earlston Community Council had been in touch with the Post Office in recent weeks over concerns about its operation, but the closure of the service so suddenly has been met with discontent by the community.

Leaderdale and Melrose councillor David Parker said: “The closure was not anticipated so quickly and I want to reassure everyone in Earlston that work is ongoing to try and secure an alternative Post Office and put in place a temporary Post Office provision whilst a new location is identified.

“Officers from Scottish Borders Council are currently in touch with the Post Office to put in place temporary provision, and to support efforts to secure an alternative provision.”

Although the closure was unexpected, there were previous rumours of closure and a reduction in services back in 2013, neither if which came to fruition.

However the service had been criticised by some members of the Earlston community who took to social media this week to shares claims of erratic opening hours and poor customer service.

Mr Parker added: “I can confirm that Earlston Community Council have discussed this issue on a number of occasions and there has been some dialogue with local businesses to try and identify a new host for the Post Office.

“Unfortunately, there will be a period of disruption but I am confident a solution will be found to allow for a Post Office to be reopened in Earlston in the months ahead.”

The Post Office has described the news as a “temporary closure” and has assured it will look at finding an alternative site in the town.

A spokesperson said “Following the resignation of the Postmaster and the withdrawal of the premises for Post Office use Earlston Post Office temporarily closed this week.

“We know how important Post Office services are to people in the area and we apologise to customers for any inconvenience caused.

“We would like to assure customers that we are currently investigating the options available which will enable us to reinstate a Post Office service to the local community. In exploring this, it is important that any future service is sustainable for the person operating the service, and for Post Office.

“Any customers wishing to access Post Office services may do so from any convenient Post Office branch.”

The nearest branches available to Earlston residents include Lauder, Galashiels, St Boswells and Melrose.

Innerleithen was left in a similar situation earlier this year after the resignation of its post master.