Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael, and Shetland MSP, Beatrice Wishart, voiced concern on Wednesday over new plans by the Post Office to close their Lerwick branch at 46 Commercial Street and create a “retail partner” site in Conochies at 74-78 Commercial Street. The Post Office said in its online survey that the move was necessary to “secure the long term viability” of services in Lerwick.
Mr. Carmichael said:
“For the Post Office to decide to close the main branch and then consult only on its replacement is unacceptable. Making major changes to a keystone service impacts everyone in the community, in Lerwick and the rest of Shetland. It is far more than a simple commercial decision and it should not be imposed on us from on high.
“The Post Office has got off to a bad start here. It is in their interest as well as the interest of the people of Shetland that they launch a full consultation before going any further. This is a question of trust, and respect for local needs.”
Ms. Wishart said:
“My concern is that a major decision about a community service has been made prior to a consultation. We deserve to know when and why the Post Office decided that this change was necessary, and how they awarded the retail partnership in the absence of any public discussions.”
“It is essential that this is a full consultation, not just a tick box exercise by the Post Office. That is the only way that people can trust that their needs will be heard.”