VILLAGERS will be able to pick up parcels from their nearest post offices after five delivery offices are closed.

Royal Mail has extended an olive branch to residents in Canewdon and Great Wakering by offering to pay the local post offices to temporarily store packages instead.

However, people living in Rochford, Leigh and Shoebury still face a lengthy trek to the company’s main depot in Short Street, Southend, when the controversial closures go ahead next year.

James Duddridge, the Tory MP for Rochford and Southend East, was told about the proposed arrangements at a crisis meeting with Royal Mail bosses.

He said: “In some ways, this could be seen as good news.

“In Great Wakering, in particular, the post office is far more conveniently located than the delivery office.

“However, I do not see why this cannot happen elsewhere - particularly Rochford - and I will be speaking to Royal Mail’s chief executive about this.”

Royal Mail’s proposals have sparked outrage since they were revealed earlier this year.

The company wants to close the delivery offices, which allow residents pick up parcels which could not be delivered because they were out, to cut costs.

According to Mr Duddridge, bosses decided they would pay post offices which were more than five miles away from Short Street to take over the role of storing parcels.

Both Canewdon and Great Wakering meet that criteria, meaning residents will simply have to go to their local branch once the closures, which are expected to happen in the spring, are finalised.

However, because the doomed delivery offices in Rochford, Shoebury and Leigh are inside that five-mile boundary, residents which relied on their services will have to travel into central Southend for their packages instead.

A spokesman for Royal Mail said: “We can confirm these arrangements.

“We were not able to announce them earlier as they had not been finalised.

“We will be releasing more details about the options available nearer to the time.”