The case for keeping Killermont Post Office open

Below I have detailed the sound reasons why Killermont Post Office should be kept open, and the problems with the suggested alternatives.  Comments from local people have been included to illustrate these points.  Attached for your information are original comments and letters received from local people.

 

Background

 

Killermont Post Office is in Bearsden’s Kessington ward.  Part of a small row of shops in a mainly residential area, it provides a vital resource for the community.

 

The 2001 Census for Kessington ward gives us the following information about the local residents:[1]

 

Kessington

  • 16% of the population is over 65
  • 32% are economically inactive
  • 8% of households have no car

 

This community has already lost Post Office services when the Kessington Post Office on Milngavie Road closed, and the further closure of Killermont would mean many people living an unacceptable distance from a Post Office.

 

The analysis conducted by the Post Office seems to have ignored community dynamics in proposing Summerston and Maryhill as potential alternatives.  Anyone with an understanding of the Killermont area would appreciate that many people will not even consider these two Post Offices, due to their fear of crime among other factors.  The comments attached confirm this, with hardly anyone mentioning alternatives other than Bearsden Cross.  This option has many drawbacks, particularly in terms of access, transport links and ability to meet the demand should these closures go ahead.

 

In summary, the reasons for keeping Killermont Post Office open are:

 

  1. 1.    Alternatives are inaccessible for elderly & disabled people
  2. 2.    Difficulties in journeying to alternative
  3. 3.    Facilities at alternative are not sufficient to meet demand
  4. 4.    Community has already suffered the loss of Kessington Post Office

 

 

 

  1. 1.    Alternatives are inaccessible for elderly & disabled people

As explained, the nearest and only realistic alternative for most people will be Bearsden Cross.  Not only does this involve a journey uphill, but the facilities here are far from ideal for elderly and infirm people.

“Older people will not walk uphill to Bearsden.”

“Roman Road has no self-opening doors for the elderly and disabled.”

“There are no facilities for the elderly to sit for the often very long waits involved.”

Over the next 15 years East Dunbartonshire is expected to have the highest rate of increase in its older population in all Scotland.  The over 75s group is expected to increase by 68%.[2]  Any changes which have an adverse impact on elderly people will only cause greater problems in the future.

 

  1. 2.    Difficulties in journeying to alternative

There are many factors which make the journey to Bearsden Cross difficult.

·         No adequate bus service

“I do not have use of a car.  How do I get there?  There is no bus service to the Cross.”

“No regular, reliable bus link between Killermont and Bearsden Cross.”

“They think everyone is young with a car!  There are no buses from Kessington to Bearsden Cross.  At 81 I for one cannot walk there, nor can I afford taxis.”

“Where do we go?  Especially the elderly like myself where public transport isn't suitable to get us to Bearsden Cross.”

“While this may not present an insurmountable problem to people of working age, usually "on the road", it would be disastrous for the elderly and infirm who rely on public transport.”

  • Traffic & parking problems

“The car park is of little use as it fills in the morning.”

“It would add to the volume of traffic and parking difficulties at Bearsden         Cross”

“It will cause traffic and parking problems at Bearsden Cross, affecting an even larger number of people.”

“Traffic and parking make it an extremely time consuming and frustrating journey.  Many Post Office users are unable to just jump in a car to go to Bearsden, but even if they could, there would be no parking spaces for them anyway.”

“Bearsden Cross is not very suitable, even if you have a car, the car parks are full by 9am”

  • Cost of taxis

“The nearest Post Office is a taxi-ride away, adding to the expense of mailing a parcel.”


  • Distance is too far

“There will be no Post Office within walking distance for households in Garscube Estate and Killermont (Kessington PO already being closed).”

“I don't drive.  The walk to Roman Road with parcels is too much for me.”

“A Post Office far away at Bearsden will be of no use to us.”

“Very very inconvenient for those of us who live in Kessington and do not have transport, especially those of us who are elderly and not too mobile - even since the closure of Kessington PO it has been very inconvenient.”

“Our nearest PO will be approximately 2 miles away with no direct transport to get there.”

“The elderly and disabled will be isolated from necessary facilities.  Killermont is an area encased by dangerous roads which would have to be negotiated.”

 

  1. 3.    Facilities at alternative are not sufficient to meet demand

The lack of parking facilities at Bearsden Cross has already been highlighted.  The opening of a new Marks & Spencer store with no increase in parking provision at the Cross has recently placed even more pressure on parking spaces.  As well as this, there are concerns that facilities within the Bearsden Post Office will not be able to cope.  There are currently 3 counters with no plans to increase this provision.  However even now there are problems with long queues:

            “It is often understaffed with long queues waiting.”

“Often very long waits involved.”

“Queues out of the door at Bearsden now.”

The current plans involve the closure of Courthill and Westerton Post Offices as well as Killermont.  Bearsden Cross Post Office is listed as the main alternative for Killermont and Courthill, and a secondary alternative for Westerton.  The additional volume of business would undoubtedly lead to longer queues.  For elderly people in particular this can be a problem:

“Queuing is very off-putting for many people, especially the elderly.”

It is clear that as there are no plans to increase the number of counters at Bearsden Cross Post Office, and there are currently problems with queues, the extra pressure from 3 local closures would only make this worse.

 

  1. 4.    Community has already suffered the loss of Kessington Post Office

The community in Killermont has already had to adapt to the closure of Kessington PO, which itself has presented many difficulties for local people.  To remove this last facility would be unfair.

“We have already seen Kessington close and require a local PO.”

“With the Kessington PO gone the Killermont PO is the only one left in the area.”

“It is bad enough now with the closure of Kessington branch.”

“The closure would be a big loss to the local community particularly after the closure of Kessington.”

There are also concerns about the viability of the group of shops at the Killermont PO site if the Post Office facility closes.  Post Offices must be looked at in a wider context than purely economic terms, as they are also a community resource.

“If the PO is closed the paper shop will probably have to close too.”

“It will cause the death of that row of shops and of paper delivery in the area.”

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