A VITAL ATM that is a life-line for the community has been saved from closure after a local MP pledged to keep it open.

The cash machine, located at the Post Office in Billy Row, was to be scrapped by the Post Office which caused a lot of concern to residents.

The Post Office announced this year that cashpoints in their branches across the country were to be removed – one in five Post Offices will lose their cash machines and a decision was made to include the cash machine in Billy Row Post Office in the removal scheme.

The Post Office in Billy Row contains the only cashpoint in the village.

In some communities, the Post Office cash points are the only location at which people can take out money or the only place people can take out money outside main post office hours.

Richard Holden, MP for North West Durham, campaigned to prevent the ATM at Billy Row Post Office being removed, following the announcement that it would be scrapped.

Mr Holden lobbied both the Post Office and Link, the service provider for most of the UK’s cash machines, to keep the ATM in the Post Office after residents raised concerns about the impact it would have on them.

Mr Holden said:“I am delighted for local people that my campaign was successful and that the Billy Row Post Office will see the retention of its ATM for years to come

“Access to cash is hugely important, especially for the elderly and those budgeting. North West Durham has lots of village communities and it’s vitally important that no one in any of these communities has any difficulty accessing their money.

“I want to thank the Post Office for their recognition of the importance of access to cash for those in Billy Row and the wider community and I look forward to working with them on their new ATM strategy.

“My campaign to get a free-to-use cash machine in Moorside for local residents there continues, and I’ve had some very good early meetings with LINK progressing my campaign on this too.”

A Post Office spokesperson, said: “We have conducted a review of the Billy Row ATM and decided to retain the machine in this rural location.”

Ruth Singleton, Postmistress of the Billy Row Post Office and Shop said: “It’s just fantastic to have had Richard’s support on this.

“A few weeks ago we were genuinely considering whether or not we could survive without the cash machine but this campaign has totally turned things round for us and will make a real difference to the community.

“We cannot thank Richard and his team enough for the work getting the decision reversed.”