COUNCIL bosses are hopeful a new post office will open early in the New Year after a rival bidder decided to retract their offer for the good of the community.

The Post Office branch at Martin’s newsagent at the Triangle Shopping Centre, in Rochford Way, Walton, shut its doors on November 9.

The planned closure was first announced this time last year, after the newsagent, which runs the building, opted against renewing the lease, owned by the Co-Op.

Since then, concerned local residents have backed numerous petitions protesting the closure, prompting the Frinton and Walton Town Council to step in.

Following a crunch talks meeting, councillors agreed to spend £16,000 on converting its rarely used downstairs meeting room, located at the Triangle, into a post office.

The authority’s formal application to the Post Office, however, was rivalled by a second bid from a local company based elsewhere.

But, after recognising the need for the post office to be situated at the shopping centre, the Frinton firm has now decided to withdraw.

Anne Davis, councillor for Homelands, who has campaigned for the post office to remain, is delighted the council has moved one step closer to making it a reality.

She said: “The second bid, which was not from the Triangle site, was withdrawn last week after much discussion and serious consideration.

“The local firm proposing to 'host the post' withdrew their offer after recognising that to meet the needs of local residents, the post office must remain at the Triangle.

“Even in these very difficult times, here is a local business willing to put community first before personal profit - how inspirational is that?

“As a result of the withdrawal of the alternate bid, we anticipate, therefore, that the new permanent Post Office will be opened early in the New Year.”

In a bid to accommodate residents still looking to use a post office at the Triangle in the interim, discussions are now taking place regarding a temporary site.

Post Office management has been negotiating with a view to opening a temporary post office at The Triangle from the start of December,” added Mrs Davis.

“This will be using the existing post office counter and we believe some staff already familiar to local residents,

“The temporary post office will remain until the new one is ready for business.

“I would like to recognise, and acknowledge with gratitude, the enormous goodwill from the Co-op, the Post Office, and McColl’s in working together to achieve this for our community.”