ALVA'S Post Office branch is to close at the end of January with work ongoing to find a new postmaster.

The branch on Stirling Street is closing on Tuesday, January 26, at 2pm following the resignation of the postmaster and the withdrawal of the premises for Post Office use.

Post Office Ltd confirmed the move just before Hogmanay and work is ongoing to "restore services in the area as soon as possible".

In a letter issued to customers, Post Office network provision lead Bob Sharp said: "I would like to assure you that we are working hard to keep any period of closure to a minimum and we are currently investigating the options available which will enable us to reinstate a Post Office service to the local community.

"In exploring this, it is important that any future service is sustainable for the person operating the service, and for Post Office Limited."

He added: "We would like to apologise for the inconvenience the temporary closure may cause.

"In the interim, we hope that our customers will continue to use Post Office services."

The nearest available branches will be on Main Street in Menstrie, on Tillicoultry's High Street or Sauchie's Main Street.

Post Office Ltd is looking for applications from potential retail partners who would be interested in running a branch.

Linda Greig, secretary at Alva Community Council, told the Advertiser: "The community have concerns regarding the closure of the Post Office as many business owners and members of the community rely on this local service.

"In many ways the Post Office replaced the banks which have already closed in Alva.

"In the current climate regarding Covid-19 many folks are concerned about having to use public transport to access the Post Offices in Tillicoultry & Menstrie, this includes many elderly people who rely on the Post Office being within the local community."

She is also highlighting the opportunity for someone else to take over as postmaster in the town.

MSP Alexander Stewart branded the forthcoming closure "saddening".

He said: "Although the circumstances behind the postmaster's resignation is not known, what is clear is that a Post Office is the hub of the community and any closure such as this has a negative effect on the residents, plus we also need to ensure that we are able to shop local at every opportunity.

"The provision of a Post Office service in a local town such as Alva is massively important to the local community and although I know that the Post Office is working hard to restore services in the area, it should be minded that many elderly or disabled residents may not be able to travel rather afield to access services, plus many older residents may not have access to online facilities."

Anyone keen to run a branch in Alva can visit for more information and to apply.