PO franchisee search continues

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Retailers who want to become a franchisee for Cumbernauld Post Office have been given more time to apply.

The Post Office has confirmed that they have reopened the application process for their Cumbernauld branch which has been identified as being best suited to operation by a franchise partner.

They decided to extend the application period to give more retailers an opportunity to apply, and the move could see the closure of the existing branch.

Kevin Gilliland, Post Office Network and Sales Director, said: “We have had expressions of interest in all of the franchise opportunities advertised including Cumbernauld. However, a number of expressions were received after the closing date of the initial advertisement. We wish to ensure the highest levels of customer service and service provision are maintained, and reopening the applications process to allow more retailers to be considered is the best way to ensure we find the right franchise partners to ensure the long-term viability of these branches.

“The advert has been published on the business opportunities section of the Post Office website and will be live for 28 days from Wednesday, November 6.

“We remain confident that we will find suitable franchise partners for the 70 Crown branches identified by the end of the next financial year, March 2015.”

Politicians have expressed their concern over the decision to extend the period in which retailers can apply. MSP Jamie Hepburn said: “The announcement appears to prove that the owners plan to press ahead with this course of action. It does little to address the serious and continued concerns that I have about whole process, concerns which are shared by many local residents. It remains unclear also where a franchised post office could go and I do not believe that such uncertainty is helpful. The impact such a move would have on staff is also unclear and deeply concerning.”

MP Gregg McClymont added: “Post Office limited do not inspire any confidence with their handling of this issue. People need certainty about the future of services, and the delay in making a decision will worry customers and residents.If no suitable partners could be found in the prescribed eriod in which it was advertised, the right decision for Post Office Limited should be to maintain the current service. This has been a long, drawn out saga and it will no doubt be a stressful time for the staff who work in the local office, therefore clarity is urgently needed.”