Postmaster Paul Mather has told of his delight that services at Sherston Post Office have been protected after a U-turn by Post Office Ltd.

Mr Mather, who with his wife Gail, last year welcomed Prince Charles to their store during his tour of Sherston’s newly refurbished Old School Project.

He had been told that banking would have been among the first of the services to have been removed from Sherston Post Office if a decision in December to downgrade it had not been re-assessed.

The U-turn means that the store can retain its designated Post Office staff, as well as continue to offer DVLA and foreign exchange services.

Mr Mather said: "Everything that we do now will remain untouched but we could have lost many services that are important to the community, such as banking – bearing in mind we haven’t got a bank in the village.”

Post Office Ltd is carrying out a ‘network transformation’ consultation to assess the importance of facilities across the country. It is designed to categorise services into ‘local’, ‘community’ and ‘main’, with the latter being the larger stores.

Sherston Post Office was categorised as a ‘local’ store, but has since been upgraded to ‘community’ which recognises how reliant villagers are on the facility.

“Any loss of service would have been a huge blow to the village,” said Mr Mather.

“This was reiterated by Prince Charles during his recent visit and was one of the main drivers for supporting The Old School Project with the Prince’s Countryside Fund.

“It would have been a pity that, so soon after his investment and visit, services provided would have been severely cut.”