Businesses in an Aberdeenshire town are being encouraged to step up and run their own Post Office – one year after the closure of its largest branch.
Last April the shop within the Allardice Street Keystore closed when its postmaster resigned.
This has left residents just one local alternative at a Co-Op store and petrol station.
Otherwise, they have to travel to Portlethen or Inverbervie to access the services they require.
In the months which followed, customers numbers remained steady – with the drop in footfall thought to be related to the pandemic.
But after seeing long queues during a Christmas rush in December, local MP Andrew Bowie says the current set-up “isn’t sustainable”.
Post Office bosses have revealed that no-one has come forward since the Allardice Street closure to indicate their interest in running a branch.
In a letter to customers Robert Sharp, the Post Office network provision lead, said: “As you may be aware the above Post Office closed last year for reasons beyond our control as the postmaster resigned and withdrew the premises for Post Office use.
“Since then we have been exploring our options for restoring a Post Office service to our customers in the area.
“The vacancy has been advertised on our website and a member of the field team has also personally visited the area, but so far we have received no interest or formal applications for the position.”
Mr Bowie, the Scottish Conservative MP for West Aberdeenshire And Kincardine, is calling on residents and business owners to help find a solution.
He said: “Stonehaven won’t have an acceptable solution until a bigger Post Office branch opens.
“There may have been an initial reduction in footfall because of lockdown restrictions.
“With all respect to the Co-op, Christmas showed the present arrangement isn’t sustainable, and now those restrictions are easing and people are returning to the high street.
“The Post Office have said they are trying to restore a full service.
“That won’t happen unless a retailer or someone in the town centre applies to take it on.”
At Christmas residents complained Stonehaven’s situation, with just one branch open, was “crazy and unacceptable”.
There were concerns that people had to trudge up a steep hill, or even take a taxi, and then queue outside in the cold to use its services.
A Post Office spokeswoman said: “We know how important a Post Office is to a community and we are still looking to see how service can be restored to Stonehaven.
“We welcome the MP’s involvement to help highlight the search for a new retailer to take on Stonehaven Post Office.”