WORRIED villagers have said the imminent closure of a rural post office could leave them without vital community services.

Sabden Post Office, in Whalley Road, is due to close on November 3 after the resignation of sub-postmaster David Scurrah who is selling up because the business is no longer viable.

Post Office bosses have pledged to find a venue for an alternative branch in the village, but many residents fear they will have nowhere to pay their bills or pick up their pension in the meantime.

The nearest other branches are in Higham, two miles away, and Read, two-and-a-half miles away, but there are fears elderly customers who don't have a car will find it difficult to travel.

Mr Scurrah, 37, took over the branch in August last year and hoped to run it as part of a shop selling greetings cards and gifts. But dwindling custom means he feels he has no other option but to close the business.

Local councillors are now appealing to Post Office Ltd to find a new venue as quickly as possible.

Angela Whitwell, clerk to Sabden Parish council, said: "The Post Office say there will continue to be a branch in Sabden, but haven't found anywhere yet and the current one closes in two weeks. The parish council has expressed a lot of disquiet. It is vital this community has a branch."

Lancashire County Councillor Albert Atkinson said: "It's very important to the village, but obviously not important enough to the Post Office for them to keep it open. There are other branches in nearby towns, but how are the elderly, many of which don't have cars, supposed to get there?"

Mr Scurrah said: "The turnover and the salary are simply not enough to pay the mortgage. I put it on the market nine months ago but there's been practically no interest, so the branch will have to close.

"It's a shame because there's been a post office in Sabden for generations."

A spokesman for Post Office Ltd said they are now want to hear from anyone interested in running a branch in the Sabden area. He added: "We apologise for any inconvenience, but I assure customers we are doing all we can to restore counter services in the village as soon as possible."

Applicants, who must be able to offer suitable premises, can contact the Post Office's agency recruitment section on 0845 7016260.