A POSTMASTER who currently runs Grange Post Office and offers a mobile service for rural areas has offered to take on the Hawkshead branch on a temporary basis.

Grange Postmaster Billy Hughes claimed that the central Post Office approached him before Christmas asking if he could run the Hawkshead branch in the knowledge that the postmaster was leaving before the new year. 

However he said that the Post Office then went back on this. Since then, the rural service has not been open. 

Mr Hughes said: "Before Christmas I was approached by the Post Office - they were aware Hawkshead was closing. I was asked before Christmas and I looked at it and I thought: 'Yes no problem at all'.

"But a couple of weeks before Christmas I was told they changed their mind.

"They made it clear that they are not prepared to fund it even on a temporary basis. 

"It makes no sense to me. With a community the size of Hawkshead that is crazy. I am not saying it is a permanent solution but we have this other solution up and running."

READ MORE: Petition started to bring a post office back to Hawkshead

Mr Hughes said that having an operating Post Office is 'essential' for a community like Hawkshead with an older population as not everyone uses the internet.

"I think it is essential. For the younger generation, everything has got to be done online. There are elements of our society that do not want to use online channels. These people are at risk of being completely isolated," he said.

He also worried that if a Post Office like Hawkshead in a tourist area was struggling others in less popular rural areas would find it even more difficult to keep their service running.

A Post Office spokesperson said: “Hawkshead Post Office has been temporarily closed since the end of December due to the resignation of the Postmaster. We know how important a Post Office is to the community. The vacancy is advertised on www.runapostoffice.co.uk.

"Our priority is to find a permanent solution to relocate the branch rather than a temporary solution. We would like to hear from interested retailers. Our network team has already visited the area and interest has been expressed. Alternative branches in the area include Coniston and Ambleside.”