A PERMANENT new home has been found for the Post Office in Grays town centre.

A modern, open-plan branch is set to open in Unit 29 of Grays Shopping Centre next month, almost a year after WH Smith closed – leaving the Post Office homeless.

Since June last year, the Post Office has been operating out of the council offices on New Road in Grays while a new home is found.

Now a new permanent agent has been chosen to deliver services from the town centre shop, which will also be a newsagent.

Merwyn Antony, Post Office Field Change Advisor, said: “We understand how important having a Post Office is to residents in Grays and we are confident this new modern Post Office service will meet the needs of the local community and secure services for the future.”

The Post Office is due to open on Friday, April 25, following a period of public consultation which ends on Friday, April 11.

The store will have five serving points and a Post Office serving point at the retail counter of the shop that will be open for most Post Office transactions throughout shop open hours.

It will also be open for 28 hours per week longer than in the past. The new branch will open Monday to Saturday: 7am to 6pm and on Sunday from 9am to 5pm.

John Kent, the leader of Thurrock Council, who brokered a deal to keep the Post Office open in Grays by allowing it operate in Civic Offices, said: "It was great that the council was able to ensure Post Office services continued in Grays without interruption, but the use of the former cash office at the Civic Offices was only ever meant to be a temporary solution."

He added: "It’s also good that the Post Office is now looking at a new home back in the Shopping Centre.

"I’d like to congratulate everyone involved in all stages of this process, guaranteeing that this invaluable service for local people continued without any gap."

Mr Antony added: “This modernisation is part of a major investment programme, the largest in the history of the Post Office and marks a commitment to no more branch closure programmes.”

To have your say, get in touch with Post Office by Freepost “YOUR COMMENTS” to Post Office Ltd, via email to comments@postoffice.co.uk, via the Customer Helpline on 08457 22 33 44 or Textphone 08457 22 33 55.