THE Post Office may have found a new permanent home in Hexham.

The current service housed within Beales on Fore Street will temporarily close when the department store ceases to trade in the town on September 21.

But it was revealed this week that the Post Office is in discussions with Hexham Abbey about the possibility of moving the service to its gift shop.

While talks are in their infancy, both parties confirmed the option was being seriously explored.

A spokesman for Hexham Abbey said: “We can confirm that we are in discussions about hosting the Post Office within our existing gift shop, but these discussions are at an early stage and it is too early to say whether it will happen or not.

“It is important for Hexham that it continues to have a Post Office once the existing one closes, hence the reason why we have decided to explore whether there is anything we can do to help.”

A spokesman from the Post Office said: “I can confirm that, currently, we have an interested party progressing through our recruitment process.

“Unfortunately, at this stage, there is little we can add until this process is completed.

“If the potential operator is successful, we will of course issue a press statement announcing any plans.”

The announcement confirming the closure of Beales in April sent shockwaves across the Tyne Valley.

In addition to Hexham losing its flagship store, formerly Robbs, which has been a central focus of the town for a century, 71 jobs will be lost and members of the public aired concerns about the absence of a Post Office service.

But Tony Brown, the boss of Bournemouth-based Beales, said the company had little option but to close once its lease on the store ran out next month due to poor trading and high business rates.