TWO businesses have contacted the Post Office about re-opening a branch in the centre of Oswaldtwistle.

The new interest follows a campaign by local politicians after November's announcement that the McColl's supermarket on Union Road containing the current outlet will shut later this year.

The original closure date for the store has now been delayed from the originally proposed February 27 to April or May.

St Andrew's ward Conservative Cllr Sara Britcliffe and Hyndburn Labour MP Graham Jones have been canvassing local businesses and lobbying the Post Office to replace the town centre branch as soon as possible.

Now both are hopeful a new one will open soon after the closure of the existing outlet.

A Post Office spokesman has confirmed: "We have two interested parties progressing through our recruitment process. Unfortunately at this stage there is little we can add until this process is completed.

" If either of the potential operators are successful we will of course announce any plans. As yet we do not have a confirmed date for the temporary closure of the current branch at McColls but this is likely to be around April/May 2019."

Cllr Britcliffe made an unsuccessful attempt to persuade Lancashire County Council to agree to relocate the Post Office Oswaldtwistle Library and has been in talks with the owner of the premises of the former Golden Cross public house on the other side of Union Road.

Mr Jones has held discussions with a major retail presence in the town and written to Post Office minister Kelly Tolhurst on the issue.

She told him: "I fully understand the concerns of the local community. I can assure you that the Post Office is committed to having a service in Oswaldtwistle and they apologise to customers for the inconvenience caused by this closure."

After the closure of McColls, customers will have to travel to the Spar supermarket on Thwaites Road for the nearest alternative.

Cllr Britcliffe said: "This is a positive result for our community and it is great to see the local business owners and residents coming together to support and recognise this vital service in Oswaldtwistle.

"We now need to keep up the pressure for a new branch to open in the town.,"

Mr Jones said: "This is a vital service to residents of Oswaldtwistle.

"Two expressions of interest are hopeful signs and show what can be achieved when people and politicians work together across party lines.

"We all need to make sure that a new Post Office branch in the town centre opens as soon as possible."