After hearing the news about the post office closures on the news on Tuesday morning, I went down to the post office on Springfield Road in Dalmarnock after my surgery. The people I spoke to in the post office were understandably outraged, angry that their local facility might be taken away.
To put things in context, Dalmarnock has a small row of shops - off licence, chemist, doctor's, and a few other businesses, notably a wee cafe that's due to open soon. There's also a community hall. The post office though is an anchor to all of these things, as it helps to sustain other things when people use a core local facility like a post office. The post office is also the only business in the area to give locals access to their money via a free to use cash machine.
Post offices also have a social function. My gran often tells me about the great service she gets from the sub-post office at the bottom of Wishaw; how the staff know all the customers by name, how help out the elderly, and how they ask if someone misses their regular visit. That is often lost if people have to travel somewhere else. This is true of Dalmarnock as well, and customers told me that they have that kind of relationship with staff.
The post offices provided as alternatives should Dalmarnock close are not convenient to locals. At Parkhead, the post office is queued out the door whenever you walk by, and there's nowhere for people to sit. It's also about a mile away, uphill, with only one bus an hour from Dalmarnock. Not ideal if you're elderly or unwell, not convenient if you've got children or a buggy. Bridgeton is about the same distance away, but also not that handy for people to get to. Why can't people drive there? Because according to the Glasgow Centre for Population Health, 78.3% of households in Dalmarnock have no car.
One of the most ludicrous things about this proposal is that the Commonwealth Games Village is to be built right next to this wee row of shops. Over 1,000 houses, and a sports arena to boot. Sportscotland will also be based there, should they still exist by 2014. Given that potential increase in trade, it would be a ridiculouly short-sighted idea to close that particular post office.
I've sent a letter to the consultation, got in contact with local residents, and been in touch with the local newspaper. The campaign to save this facility is just beginning...
The public consultation runs until the 3rd of December. Submissions should be sent to:
Network Development Manager
C/o National Consultation Team
FREEPOST CONSULTATION TEAM
Customer HelplineL 08457 22 33 44