A BITTER row over post office closures in Swindon has prompted a Labour councillor to demand an apology from the council leader.

At the last meeting of Swindon Council, Conservative council leader Rod Bluh was quizzed on if the authority was consulted over plans to axe a number of post offices and he said no.

But Labour councillor Des Moffatt (Western) contacted PostWatch, the body which ran consultation on post office closures, and found the authority was contacted.

It reported that it wrote to Swindon Council's chief executive Gavin Jones last July, warning of proposed closures, but heard nothing.

In September the body wrote again, this time offering a face-to-face meeting to discuss the plans. But still no response.

It then wrote to the council in December, sending a copy of the proposals, saying public consultation was under way.

At the council meeting last month, Coun Bluh told councillors the authority was not consulted.

But earlier this week Coun Bluh wrote to all councillors saying letters were sent to different parts of the council and that although he received something mentioning closures in July, he did not connect it to Swindon.

He also said in December a letter was received by the chief executive, but as some councillors were running campaigns to save post offices in their wards it was considered that no extra action was needed.

And he added that a search was continuing for another letter from PostWatch to the council, about the consultation.

Three Swindon post offices are to close - Westcott Place, Cheney Manor Road and Lawn.

But the explanation has not satisfied Coun Moffatt.

"This letter does not address the issues," he said.

"I have no sympathy for him.

"And there is no mileage in him trying to blame this on professional officers.

"The letter should have been him saying we got it wrong, it won't happen again and I'm really sorry.' But instead he justified what he had done.

"But then I don't expect any better form this current crop of Tories."

Coun Bluh hit back.

"There is no truth in the suggestion that this council was not interested in post office closures.

"What is said at council was what I had been briefed on and if I was sent a letter in July I didn't recollect it at the meeting.

"I believe all these attacks are motivated purely by politics and because the local elections are pending.

"The council is not at fault in any way.

"If there has been a problem with letters that came here that's regrettable and we are continuing to investigate the whereabouts of the missing letters."