DIilton Marsh villagers are set to get their post office back, with the new owner planning to reopen the store before the end of March.

Matt Lawes is in the process of renovating the shop, which will be called Dilton Marsh Village Store, and he plans to run it himself with the help of around four staff that he hopes to recruit locally.

The 33-year-old, who recently moved from Hampshire to Gillingham, Dorset, got in contact with the Wiltshire Times last year to inquire about the contact details for landlord Chris Brown, after seeing the story about the store’s closure in the paper.

The shop, which has a Post Office counter, closed at the end of September, prompting villagers to set up a petition to save both the shop and post office.

Mr Lawes said: “I’ve been thinking about opening up my own shop for a while and was looking to move to the countryside. I looked at a few options, but this seemed ideal and was in a great area.

“The new shop will be quite modern, but it will also have a traditional feel, with a lot of wooden fixtures and an artisan design. It should look really nice inside once it’s all finished.

“The shop will be selling local produce wherever possible and I have sourced a lot of it already. Hopefully, as we make more contacts, we will be able to stock more local products.

“We have been in contact with the Post Office and the service will remain part of the shop. It was an integral part of our plans to have both the shop and post office, as the combination of the two is important to the village.”

Mr Lawes said that he is looking forward to opening the shop, which he hopes will be before the start of April, but the Post Office will not be open until a month or two afterwards.

He added: “Even though it sounds cheesy, I want the shop to be at the heart of the community and I have already had lots of positive feedback from villagers passing by. It’s really exciting and I’m look forward to getting started.”

For more information about the store, visit www.diltonmarshvillagestore.com or www.facebook.com/diltonmarshstore