CALLS have been made to save a community's post office following news that its convenience store will be shutting next year.

McColl's in Newton Hall, Durham, will be closing on January 24, putting the future of the area's Post Office in doubt.

The Post Office, which moved services to McColl's in 2015 after closing the Newton Hall branch, said the closure would be temporary.

Newton Hall councillor Amanda Hopgood said: "We were given assurances from the Post Office that moving the facility to McColl's would protect the service.

"Framwellgate Moor has already lost its Post Office, now we are told Newton Hall is to go after given a firm promise it would be protected.

"We will do all we can to make sure this area retains a full time post office and urge everyone across the area to support us in campaigning to retain this much needed and well-used service."

Customer Barbara McFarlane wrote to the Northern Echo in support of the service, making a plea for it to be saved.

She said: "The closure of the original separate post office was a shock, but we have learned to appreciate the present arrangement and are grateful for it.

"It is far from being simply a newsagents and post office. The staff make it a most valuable, essential service for this huge estate."

A Post Office spokesperson said: "We can confirm that the current agent who runs Newton Hall Post Office has resigned and the branch will close temporarily in early next year.

"While we always work hard to maintain post office services, from time to time, branches do temporarily close. When this happens, we always look to restore services as quickly as possible, as we know how important post offices are to communities."

"We will continue to keep the community updated with our plans.”

A McColl’s spokesperson said: “Having explored all options, regretfully we have taken the difficult decision to cease trading at the McColl’s store on Alnwick Road, Newton Hall.

"The store’s last day of trading will be 24th January 2020.

“We are saddened to no longer be operating the store and our priority has been to support all affected colleagues.”