We don’t want to lose our building society branch

Calls have been made for building society bosses to reconsider plans to close a popular branch on the outskirts of the city by the end of the year.

Nationwide Building Society has announced that it is to shut the agency branch based at Reepham Road in Hellesdon on December 31. The move is part of a wider announcement concerning Nationwide's agency network which consists of 130 small outlets in third party premises, such as estate agents and solicitor offices.

Bosses say that the decision to close the branch was made 'after much careful analysis and consideration' and concluded that 'operating an agency network was no longer economically sustainable'.

They added: 'Regrettably, it is no longer justifiable for us to operate an agency network which 95 per cent of our customers never use.'

But the decision has been criticised by Tony Adams, a parish and district councillor for Hellesdon, who said that the branch was not only popular and convenient, but provided the people of Hellesdon with its only free cash machine.

Mr Adams, who has branded the move as appalling, said: 'Hellesdon is a very busy community with many small businesses and a population of some 14,000.

'I know that several of the small businesses use this agency to bank their takings and is well used by local residents. The cash machine is the only free one in Hellesdon and I know for a fact it is very heavily used.'

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Mr Adams, who wrote to bosses at Nationwide to try and get them to reconsider the decision, said he feels a blanket decision has been made to close all agencies without any kind of study into the profitability of individual branches.

He added: 'I would urge them to undertake a business study on the profitability of the Hellesdon agency and reach the sensible conclusion it should remain open. However, I won't hold my breath.'

Beryl Hart, 77, from Reepham Road, said she would 'miss it' because it was so handy and close,