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SNP Representatives Express Concern at Effects of Royal Mail Cuts

>> 18 June 2016

West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine MP, Stuart Donaldson, and Councillor Geva Blackett have today expressed their serious concerns over the new arrangements in place for the Ballater posties, following the closure of the Ballater Sorting Office.

Prior to June 2016, the mail for Ballater, Crathie and Braemar was sorted at an official Sorting Office in Ballater, however Royal Mail made the decision not to renew the lease for the property, and the handover from Aberdeen has instead taken place in the small public car park on Swann Place in the town.

Following contact from a number of constituents about this practice leading to the mail being delivered soaked, Mr Donaldson and Councillor Blackett visited the car park on the morning of Friday 17th June. At 09.20, a Royal Mail van arrived to unload the mail from Aberdeen Sorting Office, parking in a 'turning only' area to do so.

Commenting, Mr Donaldson said:

“I was horrified at the apparent lack of health and safety considerations for the workforce, as well as the way that private and confidential mail was being so openly sorted, without any appropriate security in place.

"I will be writing to Royal Mail asking for an urgent meeting, as well as contacting Aberdeenshire Council Chief Executive Jim Savege to ascertain his thoughts on an Aberdeenshire Council owned car park being used in this way."

Cllr Geva Blackett added:

“I am so glad that Stuart and I had the opportunity to see first hand how difficult this part of the job has now become for our post men and women.

"This car park is a public facility, and therefore there are always other vehicles coming in and out, as well as a number of pedestrians walking through the area. The presence of the large Royal Mail van, as well as the many smaller delivery vans and the large trolleys for mail to be moved, make the car park hazardous for both Royal Mail employees and the public.

"It is my understanding that permission for this was not received from Aberdeenshire Council, who own the car park, until a fortnight before it became operational and I am not certain permission has actually been granted, however I have now brought it to the attention of Cllr David Aitchison, Chair of the Infrastructure Services Committee. I will work closely with Stuart and the council leadership to ensure that a safe and secure working environment is provided, and that those living in the area will continue to receive their mail in a timely and safe fashion."

Minister for Glen Muick Church, Reverend Daidh Barr, also shared his concerns, saying:

“How have Royal Mail’s top management decided that the old Royal Mail sorting office is not fit for purpose but a public car park is?”

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