CONFUSION surrounds the future of Chineham Post Office as it closed its doors for good today.

The company, which operated inside Martin's shop at the retail park, blamed the closure on the 'recent resignation of the postmaster'.

It is not clear if this refers to a former Post Office employee or the landlords who put Martin's up for sale. 

The Post Office said it was no longer allowed to run its service from the premises and were looking for an alternative home.

However a spokesman added the firm has no clear plans of when the service would reopn in Chineham, sparking fears the parish might lose its Post Office forever. 

Chineham ward councillor, Cllr Paul Miller, said keeping a vital service like the Post Office in Chineham is “essential”.

Cllr Miller said: “Losing the Post Office would have a huge impact on this side of town. Especially after we lost the main office in the town centre, this is a service people rely on.”

He added: “I know that with the redevelopment of the shopping centre the developers wish to have a retail provision which is capable of facilitating a Post Office, but that is still subject to amendments on a planning application.

“And the Post Office provision in Sherfield-on-Loddon is too small to deal with the demand if there is no facility in Chineham.”

In a letter sent out to residents accounts executive at the Post Office, Adam Williams said providing Post Office services is important to the community.

He wrote: “I would like to assure you that we are working hard to keep any period of closure to a minimum and we are currently investigating the options available which will enable us to reinstate a Post Office service to the local community.

“In exploring this, it is important that any future service is sustainable for the person operating the service, and for Post Office Limited.”

Currently the nearest facilities for Chineham residents are in Forsythia Walk, Oakridge and Shakespeare Road, Popley.