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(Issue 355, August 2008)

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Portmoak residents came out in force in early July in an effort to save Kinnesswood Post Office from closure under Post Office Ltd´s review plans.

Dozens of local people posted parcels to Pat McFadden, Minister for Postal Affairs, and on 9 July a queue of more than 100 people snaked down the main street of Kinnesswood, many holding large parcels bearing the message "Save Kinnesswood Post Office". These demonstrations of local feeling followed on from a well-attended meeting on 1st July organised by Portmoak CC. No-one from PO Ltd attended the meeting.

PO Ltd wants to replace the Kinnesswood Office with a mobile outreach service, which would operate for only five hours a week in the village. Similar plans are afoot for Glenfarg and Crook of Devon.

Meanwhile, in a letter to PO Ltd, Councillor Mike Barnacle has strongly criticised the review process.

Firstly, he feels that the lack of attendance by PO Ltd staff at the Portmoak is an indication that the six-week consultation period for the Post Office´s North East, Tayside and Fife areas was too short.

However, there were many other points to be made.

PO Ltd claims it was not required by government to take environmental impact into consideration when deciding which offices to earmark for closure. Councillor Barnacle believes that "this indicates that the whole assessment process for post offices in rural areas is seriously flawed and possibly open to judicial challenge..."

In his letter Councillor Barnacle told PO Ltd that the public meetings in Fossoway and Portmoak "have been the largest I have attended on any subject since my election in 1999 and I am sure you are left in no doubt as to the strength of feeling in Kinross-shire about these proposed closures." He states that "we have already seen the closure of Blairingone, Carnbo and Cleish rural post offices since 1999 and I do not believe they should be followed by closures at Crook of Devon and Kinnesswood" and takes issue with the organisation over the population figures used in its report.

The Councillor points out the report´s failure to take account of demographic changes government figures suggest Perth & Kinross has the highest projected growth rate in Scotland at 22%, with Kinross-shire "particularly targeted for housing development because of its proximity to the central belt of Scotland."

Councillor Barnacle concludes his letter by saying "I strongly suggest that your closure proposals for Kinross-shire are based on a flawed assessment and are short term.

"They should be reconsidered, the proposed mobile service re-assessed as inadequate and unsuitable for growing communities and ways found to keep our two remaining rural post office open."

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