POST office customers in Kendal are to be consulted about the re-location of the main office in Kendal.

The PO has announced a new deal with WHSmith to relocate up to 40 offices in WH Smith stores in 2019 on a franchise basis.

The Kendal branch on Stricklandgate is proposed to be franchised to the nearby WH Smith store.

"We don’t yet have a confirmed date for this but any proposed changes will be subject to a public consultation where we will seek the views of our customers and local stakeholders in line with our Principles of Community Engagement," said the PO in a letter to Westmorland and Lonsdale MP Tim Farron.

It added: "WHSmith and Post Office have worked together successfully for more than a decade to help to secure our vital services on high streets for years to come.

"Together we’re continuing to respond to unprecedented change on high streets and in consumer expectations.

"By adapting to the needs of customers, we’re making sure Post Offices will matter as much tomorrow as they do today, with services available when and where people want them, in convenient locations and open for longer hours, including Sundays.

"The vast majority of the Post Office’s network of 11,500 Post Office branches, large and small, are run on a franchise or agency basis with retailers as part of thriving businesses.

"We are, therefore, keen to further expand this successful, sustainable, way of providing Post Office services to local communities across the country."

The public consultation is expected to last six weeks.

“This is devasting news for Kendal," said Mr Farron. "Given the much smaller size of the WHSmith store, it’s hard to see how this won’t be a serious downgrade to the services available to local people.

“We demand better for local residents. Having lost many rural post office branches over the last 20 years, the one service we could reasonably have expected to be safe is our area’s main post office.

“That’s why I am launching a campaign to save Kendal Post Office. We have shown when we stand together as a community we can save local services – and we now need to stand together as a community again.”