The postmaster in an East Lancashire township is to get the first option to run a new banking hub seven years after its last regular branch closed.

Financial services provider LINK has promised to open an new outlet in Great Harwood providing over the counter advice and services for major banks as well as consultation rooms where people can meet employees from their pwn bank.

The news last month raised fears that it could hit the banking services provided by the post office in Glebe Street.

But now its boss Dawood Patel has been told he has the first option on running the new hub.

Kevin Tomlin, banking hub operations manager for the Post Office, said: "I have spoken to Dawood and understand he is very interested in becoming the operator for the banking hub in Great Harwood.

"I explained to him that as local postmaster he will get the first opportunity to apply to operate the hub.

"So far we have seen a positive impact on the Post Offices located near banking hubs.

"Because customers are staying within the community where the hub is based, the post office benefits from an increase in mails, currency and other transactions that are not available at the banking hub."

Mr Patel said: "I am pleased I am getting the first option to run the new banking hub.

"But there are still processes to go through. Of course I shall apply. I have no choice."

Hyndburn Conservative MP Sara Britcliffe, who helped to secure the new banking hub, said: "We knew from the get go that banking hubs have no negative impact on Post Offices, and evidence points to them having a positive impact.

"First refusal is standard process and happens at all new banking hubs.

“The postmaster in Great Harwood was contacted after I asked the project manager of our new banking hub to do so.

"I have further meetings to get the ball rolling on potential locations.”

Overton ward Labour Councillor Scott Brerton said: “Giving people more access to cash and banking services is very good news, but because the initial indications were that they were going to be at a separate location to our Post Office, many residents were concerned it could take business away from it and cause its closure.

"I’m glad that the Post Office management have acted and been in touch with our local postmaster and have agreed to give him first refusal on operating the new facilities."