A JUNE opening has been confirmed for its Medstead branch.

The official opening at The Handy Store on the village High Street takes place on Saturday, June 3, at 1pm.

It will also see the start of significantly longer opening hours for the post office counter service.

Following the closure on February 28 of the outlet at Medstead Hardware, followed by a public consultation which saw a large number of people asking for a new outlet in Lymington Barns, to serve the growing populations of South Medstead and neighbouring Four Marks, the decision was taken at the beginning of March to keep the branch in the heart of the village.

Described as “a modern local branch”, the relocated service will be provided from a low-screened counter, alongside the retail till at The Handy Store where the opening hours will be extended by an extra 33 hours per week, and mark the end of lunchtime closing, making for a more customer-friendly service.

The branch will open significantly earlier, at 7am, seven days per week, closing later at 6pm Monday to Friday, 4pm on Saturdays, and noon on Sundays.

The relocation is part of a major modernisation programme across the Post Office network designed to make it easier for customers to do business, through longer opening hours and modern open-plan environments.

Post Office regional network manager Suzanne Richardson said: “Medstead Post Office has been temporarily closed since March 1 as the temporary postmaster had resigned ahead of the approved relocation to The Handy Store.”

Alternative branches until Medstead post office re-opens include Alton Post office, located in WH Smith on Westbrook Walk, as well as post office counters in Bentley and Holybourne villages.

Ms Richardson continued: “We apologise for any inconvenience caused by the temporary closure. Fortunately, we have a new permanent branch that will open soon.

“We are confident that this vibrant new-style post office at the heart of the local community will meet customer needs.

“This modernisation is part of a major investment programme, the largest in the history of the Post Office and will secure services for the future.”