A popular local businessman is set to officially open Newcastle Building Society’s newly-upgraded Consett branch this week.

Barry Kingston, owner of Barry’s Bargain Superstore in the town, has been invited to cut the ribbon at the official opening event for the Middle Street branch, which is located opposite his premises.

The Society is holding the special event for customers and local residents at the new branch from 11am on Thursday 28 November, with free refreshments and entertainment also forming part of the day.

The upgraded branch has been created as part of its ongoing multi-million-pound investment and improvement programme across its entire branch network, and first reopened at the start of November.

It provides a modern welcoming High Street environment, and offers customers easy access to services, information and advice, as well as to a private meeting space.

Over the last few months, Newcastle Building Society has revealed plans for new branches in Bishop Auckland and Barnard Castle, with the latter welcoming customers for the first time last month.

The opening of the new Bishop Auckland branch next year will take the number of Society branches across County Durham up to six.

The Society is now more than two thirds of the way through an ambitious branch improvement programme which will see new or improved facilities in every part of its existing branch network and new branches being opened in a number of locations across the North East and North Yorkshire.

Stuart Miller, customer director at Newcastle Building Society, said: “We’ve had a great response to the new branch from our Consett customers and hope that as many of them as possible will be able to join us for its official opening.

“While many other financial institutions are closing branches across the North East, we are committed to enhancing and upgrading a modern branch network that sits right at the heart of our operations.

“Barry is a well-known local figure who, like us, has invested in maintaining the vitality and sustainability of the local community and we’re very pleased that he’ll be coming across the road to carry out our official opening.”