Fears over future of Lossiemouth’s only public Post Office

Buckley’s – post office counter closed on Sunday – a situation that could become permanent.

ONE OF MORAY’S LARGEST TOWNS is in danger of losing its only public Post Office facility.

The ‘counter closed’ notice has already gone up on the Lossiemouth Post Office barely a year after it switched from dedicated premises to Buckley’s Newsagent on Queen Street.

Owner Tony Rook said hopefully the closure yesterday would be a temporary one – but in the long term, the business has been put up for sale with Mr Rook saying that it will close or be under new ownership by the end of March.

“I’ve had to close the Post Office counter today after another dispute with the Post Office,” Mr Rook told insideMoray yesterday, adding: “Hopefully it will reopen again after 9am on Monday when I’ve had an opportunity to speak with the Post Office about the ongoing situation.”

Mr Rook has been a community stalwart in the town for over three decades and ran Buckley’s Newsagent with his wife Meg until her passing away on New Year’s Day in 2015 after a long illness.

He agreed to take on the role of Postmaster when the Post Office decided to change their business model and recruit local small shops and stores to take on post office counter facilities, claiming that this would provide customers with longer opening hours and greater flexibility.

However, that has not proven to be a solid business model for Buckley’s, with Mr Rook saying: “Effectively, the newsagent side of the business has been heavily subsidising the Post Office counter business – and that is a situation that for me simply cannot be allowed to continue.”

Mr Rook believes that the business will lend itself well to someone who can bring in new ideas to the shop with or without the Post Office.

However, any new owner would need to be approved and trained by the Post Office so it seems likely that Lossiemouth would lose its facility at least temporarily, leaving the only post office in the town available to those who have access to RAF Lossiemouth, where the base Spar store also has a postal counter.

Buckley’s is currently being offered for sale at just under £165,000.  The Post Office in Hopeman is also being offered for sale with its owners seeking to retire.