Ledbury Post Office now looks likely to stay open while the Dillons shop, where it is based, is converted into a Tesco Express.

Tesco's plan was to close the post office for a month and lay on a weekly bus service to another, nearby post office.

But Herefordshire Council's principal planning officer, Kevin Bishop, announced on Tuesday that he had been in talks with Tesco's agents and that a deal had been struck to keep the post office open while the store conversion takes place.

Yesterday (Thursday), Tesco confirmed it was an option but said a final decision was yet to be made.

Under the plan, from August to late September, customers would be protected by a covered walkway to the post office counter.

The idea of shutting Ledbury Post Office caused a storm of protest and a public meeting over the issue is due to be held at the Community Hall on June 11.

Town clerk June McQuaid said: "We may keep this on the cards until we have the arrangements in writing from Tesco. But I can't see much point in a public meeting if what we've heard is going to happen."

Ledbury Town Council, which is calling the meeting, had until this week to decide whether to go ahead, under regulations governing a parish meeting.

If the meeting does take place, it will be attended by Ledbury MP Bill Wiggin, who was contacted by the former Mayor of Ledbury, Keith Francis, on behalf of the town council.

The ideal of the public meeting was announced by Coun Francis at the last council meeting in the Market House, the last he chaired as mayor.

Coun Francis has called the Tesco proposal for a weekly bus service "totally unacceptable". He said he had received 40 letters from concerned members of the public and numerous phone calls.