Villagers fighting to save their postal delivery office from closure have won their seven-year battle.

Royal Mail announced plans to close the sorting office in Watling Street, Radlett in 2003 – much to the dismay of residents who said it would “spoil village life.”

But today, the postal firm made a u-turn on this decision, which came as an unexpected surprise to campaigners in the Radlett village.

Under the proposals, people would have been forced to drive four miles, or wait for the one-hourly bus to the delivery office in Shenley Road, Borehamwood, to pick up parcels.

Harold Karmel, of Newberries Avenue, Radlett, previously told the Borehamwood Times that the sorting office was an integral part of village life.

The 70-year-old said: “Everyone in the sorting office is community orientated. You pop in for your post and they know your name, have a bit of a joke with you, and it makes you feel relaxed.

“I did not want to lose that, one of the reasons I moved to Radlett was because I love village life and that was very much a part of that.

“The very thought of having to traipse to Borehamwood to pick up my post was not something I wanted to think about. I am very happy, I just hope they do not go back on their decision now.”

Mark Spillman, who works as an area manager for a charity from his home in Shenley Hill, Radlett, said: “This is a huge relief. I am not always home to pick up parcels, and I began to worry how I would cope if I had to go to Borehamwood every day.

“The news is fantastic. Just this morning I was wondering how much longer it would be open for so it was a nice surprise when I found out it is staying after all.”

Last month, Royal Mail announced post office would be shut by March 2013 due to “increasingly tough trading conditions.”

Mark Candler, Royal Mail’s delivery sector manager, said: “As a result of feedback from our union and our staff, we have now decided to retain the Radlett delivery office in its current premises.

“We have also no plans to relocate the Borehamwood delivery office.”