Postmen in Watford have ruled out industrial action after Royal Mail confirmed plans to shut the town's mail centre.

Sorting operations will move to a new multi-million pound base in Hemel Hempstead, while a new delivery office, where residents can pick up parcels, will open somewhere else in Watford.

The outcome of Royal Mail's Home Counties North review also spells closure for the Kings Langley delivery office, which will either be incorporated into the new Watford site or move to Hemel Hempstead.

It is anticipated that there will be about 300 job losses across Hertfordshire from a total of 4,500 employees.

Royal Mail offices in Bushey, Northwood, Radlett or Rickmansworth will be unaffected.

The new Hemel Hempstead mail centre, on the Maylands industrial estate, is expected to be operational from summer 2011 and work will be transferred there from Watford, Stevenage and the existing Hemel centre over a “phased period”.

None of the delivery offices are expected to close before next spring.

Trevor Flowers, secretary of the Watford branch of the Communication Workers' Union, said members had been expecting this decision and many workers will now have to relocate to the new centre.

He said: “At long last they've come out in public and said they're going to shut the mail centre. We've known about the possibility for some while. We've been in a consultation period but it was pretty much on the cards that that would happen.

“We cannot get the big new machines into the Watford centre because of the structure of the building, and cannot get the double decker trucks along Ascot Road because of the bridge.

“Our members will get used to the decision but it's now come down to personal issues like 'I don't have a car (to relocate to Hemel)'. We're in negotiations with Royal Mail but our priority is to look after the interests of our members and ensure the service to the general public is not affected.”

Mr Flowers said he was “concerned” about potential job losses affecting Watford-based staff but revealed an agreement with Royal Mail meant there would be no compulsory redundancies.

“If people don't want to work in Hemel, we would look to find them a job locally if that's possible,” he said.

“There will be some natural wastage.

“Gauging the mood of the branch, I would rule out any form of industrial action. We will need to look after our members interests and it won't be in their interests to call for industrial action.”

The review took place following the “severe fall” in the number of letters posted in the UK and the increase in competition from both electronic mail and other methods.

The UK now posts 16million fewer letters every day than five years ago.

Rob Jenson, Royal Mail’s Thames Valley regional operations director, said: “This decision represents a significant investment to modernise Royal Mail operations through new technology and working conditions for our people.

“Our service to customers will continue to be a top priority during these changes and it is our intention to maintain the high level of service to our customers that they expect and deserve. We also intend to continue to provide convenient local facilities for customers wishing to collect mail.”