RESIDENTS have been fuming after their town was left without a post office for days.

People in Wallingford were expecting their new branch to open last Tuesday, the day after the old one at KP Stationers closed.

But earlier this week the new office at 52 St Martin's Street was still being fitted out and the company was unable to say when it would open.

Swathi and Madhu Keesara, who are due to run the new branch, said they were frustrated by the delays and hoped they would be up and running as soon as possible.

Among those infuriated by the situation was the town's former postmaster, Ashley Kempson, who ran the town post office from 2007 until Monday.

He said: "I've been so disappointed about what's going on. It's not good for Wallingford, for the people of Wallingford, and every single retailer in Wallingford.

"What about all the old people who couln't get their pensions? They would have to travel to Didcot or Henley to get the same range of services. This is a massive thing.

"Why didn't they simply open the new post office before closing the old one?

"They've had so much time to put this right."

Wallingford Post Office has led a slightly nomadic existence since 2007 when it spent a year in a temporary building in Goldsmiths Lane car park.

Mr Kempson then took over the post office in its old home, the former Martin's newspaper shop in St Martin's Street for two years until moving to KP Stationers in Market Place.

In May this year, the Post Office launched a public consultation about plans to move the branch to 52 St Martin's Street.

The company said the new premises would allow the branch to open seven days a week, with 14.5 additional opening hours each week.

It decided to go ahead with the move in July, but four months on it seems the final preparations have still not been made.

Mr Kempson said he understood the company was up against three separate problems causing delays – firstly that the wrong sort of phone line had been installed, secondly that had prevented the Post Office from setting up its computer system, and thirdly he said the Post Office and Royal Mail were in dispute over whether the new location was safe as a deposit/ collection point for Royal Mail drivers.

After this article was published in the Herald, the new Wallingford Post Office finally opened at 11am today (Wednesday, November 8).

Spokeswoman Sheila Tapster apologised for the delay and said: "We are pleased to announce that Wallingford Post Office opened to the public at 11am today.

"We are very sorry for the inconvenience caused to customers by the delay in opening due to communications issues. 

"We understand how important Post Office services are to the local community and Wallingford will now benefit from a brand new branch open Monday to Saturday, 8.30am – 5.30pm, and Sunday 10am – 4pm.

"This is  an extra 14 hours and 30 minutes a week of Post Office service including all-day Sunday and Saturday afternoon, plus earlier opening."