AN MP has urged her constituents to join the fight to save a town's Crown Post Office after plans were announced to relocate its services to a retail store.

The proposal is to move the services to PhoneHub at 40 Middle Street, Consett, with the branch, run by the firm's new retail partner. It will have extended opening hours, including Saturday afternoons.

North West Durham MP Laura Pidcock said: " We are seeing a pattern of this across the country where Crown post offices are put into private businesses and franchises and it is a reduction of services.

"Some people think this is just a simple relocation of the Crown Post Office in Consett. It isn’t. There are six good quality jobs at stake. "They will lose their jobs. These workers have been trained to a high standard and the Post Office offers a comprehensive range of services.

"At the proposed new premises it will more than likely be existing staff who are trained up to do some of the Post Office services, not all of them. So this is about saving jobs and saving services.

"Other areas have saved their Crown Post Offices and we can too."

Ms Pidcock called on people to attend a meeting which has been organised by the Communication Workers Union (CWU) at St Patrick's Hall, Victoria Road, Consett, at 10am on Friday.

Announcing the plans last month the Post Office’s Steve Blampied said: “The vast majority of our 11,500 Post Offices, large and small, are successfully operated on a franchise basis with retail partners.

"We believe this is the best approach to keeping Post Offices in main shopping locations and at the heart of communities where they play an important role in local economies.”

He added: “We believe our proposal is the most effective way to secure the long-term viability of Post Office services for years to come.”

A public consultation will run until September 11, with the new branch expected to open in November. Views and comments can be provided on email