CONCERNS about the lack of postal services in Consett have been raised by North-West Durham MP Richard Holden.

The former Post Office in the town Closed in November last year and replacement postal services were made available in a local retailer, Phonehub.

But the coronavirus outbreak has forced many retailers to shut so the town has not been able to access any postal services for the past month.

Mr Holden said: “It is unacceptable that my constituents in Consett have been left without access to a Post Office, a vital service particularly important for the elderly and vulnerable at a time when so many other services have not been able to open, for over a month.

“I understand that coronavirus and staff illnesses led to the current closure and wish those affected a speedy recovery and a return to good health.

“I am however worried that no alternative provision has been put in place.

“I have written to the CEO of the Post Office to ask what the plans are for re-opening the Post Office and ensuring that my constituents have access to the services that they need.

“If re-opening imminently isn’t possible then the Post Office should make an alternative mobile Post Office available until the town centre service can resume.”

A Post Office spokesperson said: “Consett Post Office is temporarily closed due to staffing issues caused by the Covid- 19 pandemic and underlying health issues.

“It is not known at this stage when the branch will re-open.

“In the meantime, alternative Post Offices include Delves Lane, Daneburn, Durham Road and Leadgate.

“We will be contacting Richard Holden MP to discuss the concerns that he has raised.

“We apologise for any inconvenience caused by this temporary closure as we know how important a Post Offices is to a community and Post Offices are designated as an essential retailer by the UK Government.

“The majority of our branches have remained open, some with revised opening hours.”

Alternative branches are available at: Delves Lane Post Office, Delves Lane, Consett, DH8 7BH; Deneburn Post Office, 20 Deneburn Terrace, Consett, DH8 8BD; Durham Road Post Office, Windsor House, Pemberton Road, Blackhill, DH8 8JJ and Leadgate Post Office, 2 St Ives Road, Leadgate, DH8 7PY.