THERE has been a call for planned Post Office closures in Dumfriesshire to be put on hold until after the pandemic.
Local MP David Mundell last night demanded a delay as it emerged a fourth Post Office counter in the area was under threat.
Host company C. J. Lang, which operates convenience stores under the SPAR brand, had already intimated they were ending their contract to run Post Offices in their Thornhill, Georgetown and Gretna branches.
Mr Mundell expressed 'extreme disappointment' when he learned that the Post Office at Eastriggs was due to close at the village's SPAR store as soon as early March as C. J. Lang no longer wished to continue the contract.
He said: "C. J. Lang are willing to close local Post Offices, including Eastriggs, at the height of the pandemic, because, I understand, they believe they can make more money from selling hot food.
"And the Post Office, because they knew this was about to happen, appear to have sat on that information and did nothing to try to put alternative arrangements in place when they must have known how disruptive the closure of both neighbouriong Gretna and Eastriggs Post Offices, for example, would be.
"I am meeting Post Office officials next week to voice my disappointment and demand action to ensure Post Office services remain available in the communities affected by closures.
"It is their responsibility to resolve this issue as they drove the relocation of Post Offices to these convenience stores. I have also raised the issue with the Minister responsible for Post Offices.
"I am calling on C. J. Lang to do the right thing and hold off on any closures whilst we are still in the middle of a pandemic."
Mr Mundell added: "The closures will almost inevitably lead to extra travel and practical difficulties for the most vulnerable at this time. I cannot believe any responsible company would want to risk that, just so they can make extra profit from selling more hot food, such as pies."
The Post Office are seeking alternative locations in each community to host and perhaps operate a Post Office counter service.