THE MP for St Helens North has called on Post Office bosses to guarantee the future of one of its branches which is to temporarily close its doors.

In a public letter to customers, published on Friday, July 16, the Post Office said that the Chain Lane branch is to shut later this month.

It read “following the resignation of the postmaster the above branch will be closing temporarily on Thursday 29 July 2021 at 17:30”.

While the Post Office has officially said it is working to keep the branch’s closure to a minimum, no date has been given for its re-opening.

The closure means that the nearest Post Office service for local residents would be the branch on West End Road in Haydock - approximately one mile away.

MP Conor McGinn has voiced concerns over the impact the move will have on local people’s access to key Post Office provisions, particularly for elderly and vulnerable residents who may not be able to travel.

Despite a £227 million investment in the Post Office from the Chancellor last November, there have been a steady decline in post-masters over the past few years.

This means it may be difficult to quickly employ a suitable postmaster at Chain Lane, which in addition to their postal services, provides access to face-to-face banking, withdrawing benefits, paying bills, and a range of central and local government services.

St Helens Star: Conor McGinn MPConor McGinn MP

Mr McGinn has urged the company to commit to re-opening the branch as quickly as possible, stating that this is "really concerning news".

He added: “Under the plans, residents are set to lose out on a key community service, with it totally unclear as to when the provisions might return in the future.

“I have sought urgent assurances that all avenues are being explored to reinstate this important service, and protect existing jobs. The Post Office must commit to re-open the branch as swiftly as possible”.