THE Ponteland branch of Barclays bank is to close in mid-January after a drop in visitor numbers and counter transactions.

The news comes after recent figures from the Office for National Statistics showed that almost a third of the UK’s bank and building society branches have closed since 2010, which equates to nearly 6,000 offices – the equivalent of almost 12 a week.

A spokeswoman from Barclays said: “The way customers undertake their banking is changing as people increasingly use online, telephone and mobile devices.

“At Barclays Ponteland branch, customer usage has decline by 14 per cent in the last two years, and many of our customers now regularly use alternative branches, which is why we have taken the difficult decision to close it.

“We hope that the availability of our other Barclays branch at 5 Belmont Cottage, Westerhope, and access to services at the local Post Office, located at 26 Merton Way, Ponteland, along with our range of digital channels will help to ease the transition for our customers.

The Barclays closure leaves just Newcastle Building Society and Lloyds bank in the town.

As a result, Newcastle Building Society has delayed plans to refurbish its Ponteland branch to ensure its customers have local access to financial services with minimum disruption.

The society had been due to close its Broadway branch in Darras Hall for around two months at the start of 2019 as part of an ongoing, multi-million pound investment programme.

But after Barclays announced its closure decision, the building society has decided to push back its refurbishment plans to ensure Ponteland residents don’t suffer further inconvenience at that time.

A new date for the refurbishment work will be announced in due course, but it is still expected to be completed before the end of 2019.

Customer director of Newcastle Building Society Stuart Miller said: “At a time when many financial institutions are closing branches in towns across the region, the society remains fully committed to maintaining and enhancing a modern branch network with a significant programme of investment that sits right at the heart of both our operations and communities.”