Ridiculous: Damning verdict over village’s lack of postal service

Pensioners in Newcastleton have access to the postal service for only two hours per week – and despite three Post Office signs in the village, there are no facilities.

And according to former sub-postmaster Jim Rowan, it’s simply not good enough.

Speaking this week, he said that although the village has three Post Office signs, there is no actual Post Office and that villagers who have benefits to cash or who need access to regular post are faced with lengthy delays.

For the past fortnight a post van from Denholm has been in Newcastleton between 10am and noon on Fridays but Mr Rowan says this is not enough.

He commented: “We have 250 people in the village and many elderly residents. Half of the people here have no public transport so you can see the problem they face.

“The Post Office closed on June 10 and a new one was meant to open in the local Spar, but BT have failed to put in the necessary infrastructure and it appears to be a stalemate situation between them and the Post Office.

“It really is a crazy situation when there are three Post Office signs in the village but there is no Post Office at all.”

Hawick and Hermitage councillor George Turnbull said: “I’ve met with several people in Newcastleton and the Post Office was a major concern and the main problem seems to be with BT who are still to connect the Spar shop to enable them to get started with the service that the villagers and tourists deserve.

“In the meantime the mobile service operated by the postmistress at Denholm will continue on Fridays. The first day of this service took place on Friday past when I was in the village.

“I know that pressure is being applied on BT by [local MP] John Lamont and hopefully a full postal service will be up and running as soon as possible.

Mr Rowan added: “It’s ridiculous to expect people to travel to the likes of Canonbie which is a round trip of 22 miles, to Longtown which is a trip of 30 miles, or even to Hawick which is a journey of 42 miles in total. It’s not good enough and needs sorted out.

The Hawick News asked BT for comment but they failed to respond.