A CAMPAIGN to save a post office and chemist threatened by a Tesco takeover is gathering momentum

Residents in Sholing have collected almost 600 signatures on a petition to save the sub post office and chemist in Butts Road.

Tesco has taken over the One Stop and plans to convert the shop into a Tesco Express store. The post office and chemist will go under the restructuring.

But residents say they rely heavily on both and many would find it difficult to get to the next nearest post office in Montague Avenue and the nearest chemist in Woolston.

"We need the chemist and the post office," said Pat Aylet, 71, of Canterbury Avenue, just round the corner from One Stop.

"We have had the post office there for years. There is another one in Montague Avenue but that is a long way to walk.

"When you are young you can nip up there in five minutes, but older people will take 30 to 35 minutes and then another 30 to 35 to get back home again. As you get older you value your independence," she added. "That includes being able to get your own money and your own medicines. You can't do those things if you haven't got a local shop with those services."

Kay Jarvis, 81, of Landseer Road, said: "For a lot of people the post office in Montague Avenue is too far to walk. I don't want that disruption and I speak for many people who are very distressed about this."

A member of staff from the post office in One Stop, who asked not to be named, said she was 'gutted' that it was closing.

"A lot of people really rely on this service," she said.

A Tesco spokesman said the company was hoping to transfer the post office locally to a new location under new ownership, but that it will not be possible to retain it within the planned Tesco Express.

"We do have a good success rate of keeping post offices within Tesco Express stores but it is not possible in this case," he said.

"We don't have rubber walls and we can't fit everything in. But we do go the extra mile in trying to find an alternative location - far beyond anything that is expected of us by law."

He added that the chemist would be moving to a nearby medical centre, although he could not say which one.

The campaign to save the post office has been backed by two local councillors for the area.

Sholing ward councillors June Bridle and Sue Blatchford both support the campaign to keep the post office and chemist services.

"Everybody is delighted with the thought of Tesco coming here but it is losing facilities like the post office and the chemist that local residents are really concerned about," said Cllr Bridle.

"These services are close by for a lot of elderly people and they rely on them. The thought of losing them is frightening The petition is in its early days but I'm sure there will be many more signatures to come."