RESIDENTS of a town that was"deprived" of bank services following the closure of several high street financial institutions have rejoiced as a new branch of a building society opened its door to the public.

Those living and working in Stokesley witnessed the closure of three of the town's main bank branches - Barclays, NatWest and HSBC which closed over a twelve-month period in 2018.

The closures led to concerns from residents, who claimed the would face lengthy round trips to access their next nearest bank.

The closures also prompted councillor Bryn Griffiths of North Yorkshire County Council to call for interventions in a desperate bid to ensure 'some form' of the town's banking facilities remained accessible to its residents.

But on Thursday, ribbons were cut as Newcastle Building Society opened its brand new branch, which is just a few feet from its former site, on the town's High Street.

Before its opening, the North-East based building society said it had designed an open plan branch as part of the firm's multi-million pound investment into its branches across the country.

Stuart Miller, customer director at Newcastle Building Society, said the firm had remained committed to maintaining a High Street presence.

He said: "Our new Stokesley branch looks fantastic and we hope as many local people will come along to take a look for themselves at the result of our latest investment in their town.

“While many financial institutions are closing branches across the region, we are continuing to reaffirm our long-term commitment to our High Street presence by investing heavily in maintaining, enhancing and expanding a modern branch network.

“We strongly believe our future lies in contributing to the sustainable success of local communities like Stokesley, and the vibrant, busy location that we’ve chosen for our impressive new branch very much reflects this approach."

Cllr Griffiths said: "I am very happy to see it open and hope it succeeds.

"It helps keep the High Street open and I am very supportive of it."

Newcastle Building Society said it employed Stokesley-based Prodrive Shopfitting as the main contractor in the project to build the new branch.

Mr Miller added: “We’ve had lots of local interest in the new branch as work on it has progressed, and we’re excited to now be sharing what we’ve created.”