RESIDENTS in Upper Wensleydale are being urged to attend a public meeting following a drive to retain post office services in the area.

After Hawes postmaster Steve Reynolds announced his retirement in November, residents in the town were left facing a 17-mile drive to the nearest post office.

A meeting of Hawes and High Abbotside Parish Council on Monday heard that following a complex tendering process, the Community Office in Hawes had been offered a contract to run post and sorting offices and continue outreach services in Askrigg and Bainbridge.

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The meeting, which was attended by more than 50 residents, heard there was overwhelming support for the office, which is already home to the town’s police station, library and offers district and county council services, to take on the post office.

The post office would offer all the existing postal services available in the town and be open from 9am to 5.30pm, Monday to Saturday.

The post and sorting office, which would serve a population of 3,500, would see four new jobs created if the scheme if it is approved by the Upper Dales Community Partnership at a public meeting next Friday (March 14), at 6.15pm, at the Dales Countryside Museum, in Hawes.

Councillor John Blackie, chairman of the partnership, said: “It is going to be a true one-stop shop.

“We couldn’t allow the community to lose such an essential service.

“I am absolutely certain what the public will think about losing their post and sorting offices and so I would encourage all residents to attend to voice their views.”