SUPERMARKETS in Summertown are being called on to seize the opportunity of resinstating a post office in South Parade during the next year.

Residents have been campaigning for the return of a post office since their branch in the then Martin’s newsagents – now Costa Coffee – closed four years ago.

On Tuesday, the Post Office gave its clearest indication yet at a public meeting that it was hoping to reinstate a service for Summertown.

Its stakeholder manager Laura Tarling said: “We have been looking very closely at the possibility of a new post office service.

“We are interested in any local business which wants to take on a post office service and we would be interested in talking to existing businesses or new ones.”

She explained that three or four in the area had been approached but had turned down the opportunity of running a service for a “variety of reasons”. Ms Tarling refused to reveal the identity of the businesses approached.

But she said a location would probably have to be found “within the next 12 months”.

Liberal Democrat city councillor for Summertown Jean Fooks said: “I know the Post Office has been talking to businesses in Summertown and so far nobody has been willing to take it on and it doesn’t look like it will be possible to have it in the library.

“All we can do is keep asking businesses in the area to think hard about giving up a bit of their floor space for it. It would probably increase their footfall and it wouldn’t be a huge amount of space.

“Some time ago the Post Office wasn’t even sure there was demand for one so we have to be thankful for the fact they are now interested.”

Former journalist Richard Davy, 82, who lives with wife Regine, 71, in Hamilton Road, Summertown, was one of the residents who attended the meeting.

He said: “I think it would be an excellent idea to have a post office in one of the supermarkets.

“You can do a lot online these days but there are still quite a lot of people who don’t have computers and they rely on the services the Post Office provides.

“It’s absurd that a community the size of Summertown doesn’t have its own post office branch.”

Yesterday, the Oxford Mail approached all four supermarkets along the Banbury Road – Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Marks & Spencer and The Co-operative.

Last night Marks and Spencer said it was not interested in having a post office in its store. The other supermarkets did not respond.

Last year more than 500 people signed a petition calling for a post office in Summertown Library.