A CAMPAIGN has begun to save a suburban post office from closure.

The Post Office is looking at closing its Newton Hall branch, on Alnwick Road, and moving services into the nearby McColl’s newsagents.

However, councillors say this would see some services axed, hitting the 6,500 people living in the area – particularly the elderly, who might find it difficult to travel to the Silver Street branch in Durham city centre.

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Mark Wilkes, Mamie Simmons and Amanda Hopgood, Liberal Democrat county councillors for Framwellgate Moor and Newton Hall, are calling for the existing branch to be saved and improved.

Cllr Wilkes said: “This branch is better used than many main offices.

“If you’re elderly, having to go to the city centre can be difficult. It’s an inconvenience.

“There are also lots of people working at the university and postgraduate students living in Newton Hall who use this branch to send items abroad.”

Cllr Simmons added: “If the branch closes, it could affect other local shops and businesses.”

Craig Martin, the prospective Lib Dem parliamentary candidate for Durham City, said: “The Post Office is not listening to the will of local residents, time and time again.”

The councillors have secured a meeting with a senior manager from the Post Office for Monday, August 18.

They are also encouraging concerned residents to sign a petition, which currently has 700 names. They hope to distribute the petition around local shops and make it available online.

The Post Office says the proposals are part of its three-year investment and support programme, the biggest in the Post Office’s history, which will see 6,000 branches, about half the network, converted to new style branches.

Bosses say the change would mean better disabled access and longer opening hours.

The current branch is open from 9am to 5.30pm on weekdays and 9am to 12.30pm on Saturdays, whereas the new one would be open 6am to 9pm Monday to Saturday and 7am to 9pm on Sundays.

A six-week public consultation has begun and runs until Tuesday, September 9, with the changes due to take effect in October or November.

To take part in the consultation, postofficeviews.co.uk, email: comments@postoffice.co.uk, call 08457-22-33-44 or write to: FREEPOST Your Comments.