Third police counter to stay open in latest U-turn

The front desk at Tranent Police Station will remain open. Picture: Gordon Fraser
The front desk at Tranent Police Station will remain open. Picture: Gordon Fraser
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ANOTHER police station will remain open to the public after the latest U-turn by police chiefs.

The front desk at Tranent police station was due to face the axe under Police Scotland plans to save £4.2 million across the country.

But the closure plan has been halted and police chiefs propose the public counter at Tranent should be open Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.

The change of heart comes after the reprieve for the front counters at two other stations - Linlithgow and South Queensferry – following the Evening News’ Save Our Stations campaign, backed by politicians across Edinburgh and the Lothians.

Colin Martin, chairman of Tranent and Elphinstone community council, said he was delighted by the latest move.

He said: “That’s really good news. The people have spoken and said ‘We’re not happy’ and someone has listened, which is remarkable but very good.

“There were strong feelings about these plans. This will give people peace of mind that they can still make contact with the police.

“The police talked about smart phones and Facebook and Twitter, but a lot of people in Tranent are elderly and they don’t do that kind of thing.”

East Lothian Labour MSP Iain Gray said: “This new proposal is a victory for local people in Tranent, hundreds of whom have signed my Evening News petition to keep Tranent police station open to the public. I am glad that the police are listening.”

The new plan will see only a minor change from Tranent’s current opening hours of 
Monday-Friday, 10am-6pm. But the change will have a knock-on effect on Haddington, where the proposal for a seven-day, 8am-6pm operation has been revised to Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm.

Mr Gray said: “It is a pity that Haddington will see a slight reduction in public hours, but overall the new proposal has to be welcomed as common sense. The Evening News has done a great job in campaigning against these closures, and we need to keep the campaign up for other stations in the Lothians.

“We still have a problem with proposals to get rid of our traffic wardens, and I hope on-going talks between the Police and East Lothian Council on that issue bear fruit too.”

Police Scotland’s original plan was to close ten station counters in Edinburgh and the Lothians, currently used by more than 100,000 people a year. Comments on the proposals are still being accepted until the middle of this month.

A spokesman said: “We continue to review the current provision in relation to public counter service provision and are discussing options with partners across the country.”

ian.swanson@edinburghnews.com