PEOPLE power looks set not only to save the town’s “crown jewel” West Street Post Office, but also to provide an exciting new retail outlet.

There was an outcry in March last year, when the Post Office announced Haslemere’s town centre branch could “temporarily close” in June, when the lease expired..

This week, almost a year to the day, former mayor Brian Howard was delighted to say his ‘Save Our Post Office from Closure’ campaign had struck home and a consortium has bought the building.

He said: “It was always my belief that the most practical first step towards saving and indeed improving the Post Office service in Haslemere was to find a way of acquiring the freehold of the building.

“During the last four months, I have been working closely with a small consortium of people and I’m delighted to announce they have now succeeded in purchasing the West Street property.

“The negotiations were intense and difficult and while that first hurdle has now been overcome, it needs to be emphasised that this is only the beginning and many challenges and much hardwork will have to be faced in the coming months.

“It has long been understood that the space required to provide an effective PO counter service was considerably smaller than the footprint of the building and the consortium have exciting plans to completely renovate the premises and create a quality facility that will practically and visually deliver for Haslemere within an enlarged mixed retail setting.

“There is much hardwork to be done and discussions with Post Office Counters and Waverley planners are already underway, it is hoped that goodwill and pragmatism will be the order of the day.”

The threatened closure of West Street Post Office came after Haslemere had lost its only other branch at Lion Green, in Wey Hill,

Another hard-fought campaign to re-open a facility at Haslewey celebrated the eagerly-awaited re-opening of the Lion Green branch - and the return of its original post master Stephen Moss, last moth.

Haslemere Town Council, welcomed this week’s annoucement as ‘great news’. lSee Letters page