KEIGHLEY'S mayor says he is "deeply saddened" at the pending closure of WH Smith in the town.

And he has voiced his concerns for the future of post office provision.

Stationery and books giant WH Smith has confirmed that its Cooke Lane outlet, in the Airedale Shopping Centre, will shut on September 3.

The branch includes a post office – which relocated to within the store when the old Towngate post office closed, despite a campaign to keep it open, in 2014.

Town mayor Councillor Luke Maunsell says the prospect of having no central post office in Keighley is "unacceptable".

"WH Smith has been a stalwart of this town and a resource people have used for decades," he said.

"Personally, I don't know how my family or I will cope without it as we are regular shoppers there.

"Beyond the immediate sadness, I remain concerned for the post office and am hopeful an arrangement will be made to maintain this vital service.

"The thought of not having a central post office is unacceptable, and I would urge everybody involved to pull out all the stops to maintain it.

"Unfortunately, this situation will only add to a feeling of decline in the town – which must be challenged and tackled head on.

"Keighley remains a wonderful place and I hope that all elected politicians, local authorities and Government can somehow come together to help think of ways to boost and strengthen the town in such challenging and uncertain times."

Keighley MP, Robbie Moore, said he would be contacting Post Office Ltd in a bid to ensure the town centre service was not lost.

"It is of great concern if this planned closure goes ahead," he added. "Keighley could lose important post office provision. I will be seeking updates on the situation throughout."

WH Smith said it was "disappointed" to be leaving Keighley, but that it could no longer "trade viably" from its site in the town.

"We can confirm that the WH Smith store in Keighley will be closing in September," said a spokesperson.

"Unfortunately we are unable to continue to trade viably from this location and the decision has been taken to close the store as a result of the forthcoming lease expiry.

"We are currently in discussion with Post Office Limited, so it has time to find a suitable franchise partner to ensure continuity of post office services within the town.

"We are disappointed to be losing our presence in Keighley and we would like to thank all our customers for their support and for shopping with us.

"We are also extremely grateful for the commitment of our in-store colleagues who we will support with this transition and redeploy to nearby stores, where possible."

The Keighley News contacted Post Office Ltd for a comment, but it hadn't responded at the time of going to press.

There was a public outcry when plans were first unveiled to shut the former central post office in Towngate.

Opponents, including members of the public and unions, claimed the move would be "a disaster" for the town.

But Post Office Ltd went ahead with the proposal and opened the facility within WH Smith in April, 2014.

WH Smith was established in 1792, starting out as family-run newsagents before becoming the first retail chain in the world.

It has over 600 high street stores as well as outlets at airports, train stations, hospitals and motorway services.