A NUMBER of firms and individuals will soon be interviewed to decide who will run Farnworth's Brackley Street Post Office from next year.

Shoppers waged a long battle to keep the post office open after threats that it could be closed and replaced with a counter run as a franchise inside the nearby Asda store.

Farnworth Cllr Noel Spencer has hit out at plans to reduce its status from a crown office to an agency service. He fears the level and number of services on offer could be cut.

But Post Office Counters has pledged that the new agency office will have at least seven counters and could have longer opening hours.

A meeting of the Bolton and District Post Office Advisory Committee earlier this month revealed that various applications had been received to run the Farnworth post office as an agency or "modified sub-post office".

The meeting was told that the agency would be run from or "very near to" the current Brackley Street site.

A Post Office Counters spokesman said they were considering who should run the office and a decision will be made early next year.

But he stressed that current levels of service would not be cut. "Customers could even gain by possible longer opening hours and other benefits," he said.

Staff working at the post office will be transferred to other offices or offered early retirement if the new agency bosses do not want to keep them on.

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