News • August 21, 2020 • by Awesome Aberlady
Campaign for ‘adequate’ service after post office closes in September
Main picture: Ross Searle outside Aberlady’s post office in June 2020.
THE POST OFFICE in Aberlady will close its doors for the last time at 1pm on Friday September 11, 2020 following the sale of the premises and the retirement of co-owner Ross Searle. Meanwhile, a campaign is starting to ask for a good level of service in Aberlady after the closure.
The closure is a big milestone for the village, because Aberlady has had a post office in the current location since roughly the 1880s.
The Post Office describes the closure as ‘temporary’ because it hopes to make services available from another location in the village, as part of either an existing retail business or a new business. However, a more likely outcome would be a visiting ‘outreach’ service and this might be limited: at Gullane, a similar service runs just one afternoon each week.
Ross and Louise Searle, who was sub-postmistress until she retired in 2019, have owned and run Aberlady’s post office since January 1996, almost 25 years ago. They have been trying for a number of years to sell the business and begin their retirement. From April 2019, a temporary arrangement was put in place with Andrew Gilhooly, who also runs the post office at Ormiston, helping to keep Aberlady’s post office open while the possibility of a community venture was explored.
One difficulty for new businesses taking over post office services is that there is no longer a salaried position accompanying each office. Instead, a fee is paid for each transaction, which in the case of Aberlady would bring in an estimated income each year of £6,700 to £6,900.
The post office closed on Thursday April 2, 2020 during the coronavirus lockdown but reopened from Monday June 1, 2020 from 9am to 1pm, Monday to Friday. Ross describes it as ‘busier than ever’ because so many people are working from home and because an increase in online shopping means lots of parcel returns.
The Post Office is obliged to provide a service in the village, and most likely that will take the form of a visiting service at a community venue such as the Kirk Stables. Ross describes one afternoon a week, as in Gullane, as ‘totally inadequate’ considering the level of demand he currently copes with. There are also fears that a flood of new customers to Longniddry will overwhelm the service there, which is already stretched.
There is, however, the outline of a plan for Longniddry to operate a service three mornings a week from the Kirk Stables. Ross has been in touch with Iain Gray, MSP for East Lothian, and our local councillors to recommend this as the best option and he believes that it would be helpful if Aberlady residents were to join in a campaign for the best possible service in the village after our post office closes.
Like so many other Aberlady folk, we would like to thank Ross and Louise for everything they‘ve done at the heart of this community for more than 30 years and wish them all the best for the future.
Who to contact
Find your MSP via the Scottish Parliament website
Find your local councillors through the East Lothian Council website
Aberlady Post Office on Facebook
News updates from the Post Office
Letter from the Post Office re branch closure (PDF, 354 KB)
Opportunity to run Aberlady Post Office