Post Office bosses are staying tight lipped over whether they have plans to open a branch in South Shields’ main shopping street.
Speculation has grown over the future of the former Officers Club clothing store in King Street, which closed down in January last year.
For the last few weeks workmen have been working inside the building - as the Post Office looks for a new site for when the office in Keppel Street closes to make way for South Tyneside Council’s £100m 365 regeneration plans.
Post Office bosses refuse to confirm or deny whether the King Street site - which was previously home to HMV and Geordie Jeans - will be the new location.
A Post Office spokesperson said: “The current site of South Shields Post Office is part of a regeneration project.
“We know how important Post Office services are to the local community and we have been working hard to identify a suitable nearby site for the branch. We hope to make an announcement regarding the new location soon.”
Although the shutters were down at the store on Friday, many shoppers have been keeping a keen eye on developments.
A 68-year-old pensioner from Marsden, South Shields, said: “I first noticed there was workmen in probably about a fortnight ago.
“They seem to be stripping the place back to the bare bones. It’s not clear what it is being turned into yet.
“I haven’t seen any signs or branding.”
She added: “A lot of people are speculating that it is to be the new Post Office.
“Lots of people are talking about it. It’s a good size and would be perfect for all of the counters needed.
“I really hope it is the Post Office.
“It would be ideal right in the town centre like this, very easy for us all to visit.”
A spokesman for South Tyneside Council said: “We continue to work with the Post Office and support them with relocation to a prime town centre premises to help realise our 365 vision for South Shields.”
In September plans were approved for the Royal Mail Delivery Office, which is next door to the current Post Office – but has been a separate business since 2012 – to be relocated to West Walpole Street on the Rekendyke Industrial Estate.
This is to make way for the town’s new future transport interchange as part of the 365 redevelopment plans.
The move is also expected to safeguard 86 jobs.