CIVIC chiefs in Chandler's Ford are bidding to prevent pensioners having to make a long trek to a post office once their usual port of call puts up the shutters.

Last month it was announced that the Kingsway post office was facing the axe as part of a cost-cutting exercise.

Postmistress Jaqui Biggs said she had applied for a closure package because takings had fallen over the last three years.

Now she has told the Daily Echo that the Post Office had agreed to her request - although no closure date had yet been set.

She said: "With pensions and allowances being paid direct into bank accounts from next month, the business won't be viable."

But while acknowledging that there was no way back for the Kingsway post office, members of Eastleigh council's Chandler's Ford and Hiltingbury local area committee are anxious not to lose the local facilities.

The nearest sub-post office is a mile away in Ashdown Road and councillors now want the postal authorities to consider providing alternative facilities at the parade of shops just around the corner from the existing Kingsway base.

Councillor John Caldwell said: "We would be letting many residents down if we don't ask the Post Office to consider providing alternative facilities."

He said committee members should appreciate that there was a "bleak future" for sub-post offices but urged them to write a strong letter to the postal authorities.

Committee colleague Councillor Colin Davidovitz said although he knew that the Kingsway post office closure was a done deal, there was now an opportunity to talk about the committee's concerns for post office provision in the area.

He commented: "We have to recognise the fact that there are very big commercial changes taking place that are going to affect the post office business.

"Nevertheless, in whatever form they may be, we have to impress that the residents of Hiltingbury still require post office facilities."

A local resident told the committee that elderly people were greatly distressed about the closure of the Kingsway post office.

But in a "use it or lose it" message, Ashdown Road sub-postmistress Rachael Hunt told the committee that a large percentage of Chandler's Ford residents did not use their local post office.

She added: "People in Chandler's Ford have got to ask the question: Do they really want their post office to stay?"