LOCHWINNOCH residents have expressed their frustration over a decision to close the village’s only Post Office.

The shutters will come down at the Post Office within the Spar store, in Main Street, on Thursday, October 21.

It was announced earlier this year that the Lochwinnoch branch would close in March, but the decision was postponed after villagers strongly objected to the plans.

However, Spar Scotland has now confirmed the closure will still go ahead following discussions with Post Office Limited.

Alan Bissett, chair of Lochwinnoch Community Council, described the closure as "disappointing news" for the village.

He told The Gazette: "There are still many people who need to use the Post Office and it might not be easy for them to travel to another one.

"The main issue will be accessibility for elderly and disabled people, as well as those who can't drive. It will cost money and be quite a journey for them to get a bus to Johnstone to post or return a parcel.

"I understand that this is a business decision, but that doesn't help us and I believe this is another example of rural communities being left behind."

Councillor Derek Bibby, who represents Lochwinnoch, added: "I would like to know from Post Office Ltd and Spar who they consulted and what were the determining factors in confirming the closure, as it clear that a cold harsh business decision took precedence over the best interests of the local community.

"The people of Lochwinnoch are resilient and have overcome similar setbacks in the past, such as the closure of the bank, and I am sure they will look at ways to mitigate this decision.

"Nonetheless, one wonders when decision makers will stop to consider the impact of those decisions on the lives people in Lochwinnoch and other villages."

Colin McLean, CEO of Spar Scotland, said the decision had been carefully considered and followed 18 months of negotiations with Post Office Limited.

He added: "It is unfortunate that we find ourselves in the position of having to change the services we offer.

"As part of the Spar Scotland company-owned stores estate, we will continue to invest in our staff and to ensure our stores serve the communities in which they are based.

"Unfortunately, it is not viable for us to continue to offer the service at our site. Staffing numbers will be unaffected with the store.

"This is representative of the industry-wide pressures on retail outlets as we evolve to keep up with changing consumer habits."