ONE of Edinburgh’s poorest communities has been left without banking facilities after the TSB and the post office closed within a fortnight.
Residents in Craigmillar handed in a petition to TSB bosses in a last-ditch attempt to persuade them to keep their local branch open, but the bank in Niddrie Mains Road shut its doors for the last time on Friday.
Meanwhile, the surprise resignation of the postmaster forced the closure of Craigmillar Post Office up the road on October 29, though a search is now on for a local retailer to take over the service.
Edinburgh East SNP MP Tommy Sheppard, who worked with residents in the Save Our Bank campaign, said there were many elderly and disabled people in the area who would struggle to travel elsewhere to do their banking.
And he pointed out the area was due to see a big increase in its population.
He said: “There has been a great deal of regeneration in the Craigmillar/Niddrie area of the city with thousands of new homes in the pipeline.
“However, the withdrawal of banking and post office services within weeks of each other, coupled with the closed shutters on the high street, will make it difficult to sell the area to new families as up-and-coming.”
Mr Sheppard, along with residents, local service providers and business owners wrote to TSB chief executive Paul Pester, asking him to change his mind on the closure.
And the campaign culminated with the petition, which had nearly 1000 signatures, representing a large proportion of the area’s 7000 residents.
Mr Sheppard said: “It is not all doom and gloom though. The houses will still be built and Scotland’s largest Lidl is in the process of construction at the other end of the high street – all of which makes it all the more puzzling as to why TSB, whose tag line is ‘Local banking for Britain’ would decide now isn’t the time for local banking in Craigmillar.”
A TSB spokesman said the bank’s Cameron Toll branch, just a mile from Craigmillar, had recently been refurbished.
He said: “We do understand the concerns raised. Please be assured that we are committed to having a strong branch presence in Edinburgh.”
A Post Office spokesman apologised for any inconvenience caused by the temporary closure of Craigmillar Post Office following the resignation of the postmaster and withdrawal of the premises for Post Office use. “We would like to reassure customers that we are working hard to restore the service to the community as soon as possible and are committed to maintaining services in the area.”
He urged any retailer or small business owner interested in running the post office and incorporating it into their business to get in touch.