Welcome for new village mail service

Local MP Stuart Donaldson and Councillor Geva Blackett at the new site
Local MP Stuart Donaldson and Councillor Geva Blackett at the new site

New arrangements have been introduced for postal services in Ballater.

Royal Mail is now using a site at the Stagecoach depot in the village for transferring mail to staff.

It follows a major row earlier in the summer when bosses faced fierce criticism for using a local public car park for distribution.

The controversy erupted after the closure of the Ballater sorting office and led to the launch of a petition.

A well-attended public meeting over the issue was held in the village at the end of June.

Local politicians who led the chorus of disapproval have welcomed the new operation.

West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine MP Stuart Donaldson, who visited the site with local councillor Geva Blackett last Friday, said: “I am pleased to see that Royal Mail have taken on board that their previous arrangements were unacceptable and glad that Stagecoach has been able to accommodate them.

“We must now keep an eye on the future to ensure that the universal service is not discontinued in rural areas such as here when the Royal Mail is able to renegotiate in 2021.

Councillor Blackett added: “Having seen items that required signatures being sorted in full view of anyone in a public car park, I am very pleased to see that our posties now have somewhere not only away from public view to carry out their work but also where they can keep warm and dry while doing so.”

Alexander Burnett, MSP for Aberdeenshire West, said he was glad the situation had been resolved.

He added: “I am pleased that a solution has been found to provide a secure and sheltered space for the postmen to receive mail at the Stagecoach bus garage in Ballater.

“This will be welcomed by the local community and will put an end to the use of an outdoor car park, which was not an appropriate site for Royal Mail workers to operate.”

A Royal Mail spokesperson said: “Royal Mail is now transferring mail to our postmen at our new site at the Stagecoach bus garage in Ballater.

“This option was discussed with the local community and we have negotiated this move with Stagecoach. We were pleased of their offer of help.

“The new site offers us welfare facilities and the operation has been working well since we started on Monday, August 1.

“The focus of Royal Mail and its postmen locally continues to be to provide a high quality service to our customers in Ballater.”