PLANS to turn a 100-year-old village shop and post office into a home have been met by a fierce backlash.

About 150 people have objected to the change-of-use application made by Cradley Post Office and Stores owner Nigel Thomas.

He blamed cuts to postal services and a change in shopping habits ahead of closing the black-and-white property – which had been trading under different owners since the 1890s – at the beginning of July.

But his plan has prompted a wall of protest by scores of Cradley residents who have written to Herefordshire Council to complain about the planning application.

Among the concerns are fears it may leave the village’s elderly population housebound.

“We have a poor bus service here,” said Ken Nason, vice-chairman of Cradley Parish Council.

“Anyone who wants a parcel weighed, for instance, will have to go to Leigh Sinton and then wait an hour to come back, or go to Worcester. There’s no bus service to Malvern. Those in Cradley without transport are going to become isolated. It’s having a social impact and is ripping the heart out of the social centre of the village.

“The number of objections is unusual for this sort of thing. Objections to planning applications usually come down to four or five people.”

He said Mr Thomas could have done more to save the business which used to be “thriving”. It is thought that during its 100-plus years of trading the shop has had about a dozen owners. Mr Thomas said there is “nothing I can say that will add to my situation”.

Following the closure last month he blamed competition from supermarkets and the fact the store does not benefit from a passing trade as it is not on a main road.