A BUILDING society has said it will be closing one of its branches in response to a lack of demand.

Darlington Building Society will close its Cockerton facility on April 18 as part of a development scheme to invest in other branches.

The organisation said the closure was prompted by performance analysis and that the decision had not been made lightly.

A spokesperson said: “The society has reluctantly given notice to affected members advising them of the closure of its branch based in Cockerton. The decision has been made as part of an overall review of our branch network in which we also decided to invest in upgrades to our remaining branches.

"It is mainly due to the continued changes in the way in which customers are choosing to access their accounts and the fact that the number of people using the Cockerton branch has been declining over a number of years. We also have our flagship branch at Tubwell Row less than two miles away.

"Nonetheless, we remain committed to our network of branches throughout the region."

The organisation has nine branches across the area including Bishop Auckland, Stockton, and Middlesbrough.

It is planning to refurbish its Yarm branch after renovating its Guisborough and Barnard Castle branches in the hopes of making them brighter and easier to use.

Customers outside the Cockerton branch said the the closure would mean they would have to travel to other stores to access services.

One customer said: "I come to this branch because it’s just around the corner from where I live but there are others I can go to.

“I know there’s another one in Darlington and one in Bishop Auckland I can get to if I’m ever stuck."

Following the closure announcement, society members were given a 12 weeks personal written notice and are being directed to other local branches with the nearest being on Tubwell Row.

They are also being provided with pre-paid envelopes on request and are being encouraged to set up standing orders, if it is more convenient for them.

The staff employed at the society’s Cockerton branch have also been offered job offers at other branches and there were no compulsory redundancies.


The following comments were left on The Northern Echo Facebook page

Debbie Nelson: "Once over there was three banks and a building society in Cockerton and now there will be none. I myself have just recently opened accounts here as it was more convenient. Having known this was going to close and (I) would have to trail to the town branch in future I would have shopped around as other places have far better interest rates. A lot of older people use this branch too, it’s them I feel for as some felt more safe going to a out of town centre location. Always seemed to be busy, I know I very often had to queue."

Joanne Airey: "Very sad for those who are unable to get to town and don’t have online facilities."