The North East’s biggest building society is getting ready to move into its new home in the centre of Barnard Castle.

Newcastle Building Society announced in March that it was extending its commitment to the town where it has had a presence for 25 years, and would establish a new full service and financial advice branch as part of its multi-million pound branch network refurbishment programme.

It has now chosen a 1,200 sq ft space in the town’s Market Place, which was previously a boutique fashion retailer that has relocated elsewhere in the town, as its Barnard Castle branch location.

Work has now begun to transform the space into a modern and welcoming environment that offers customers easy access to services, information and advice, as well as to a private meeting area.

Local contractor Tri Construction has been appointed to work on the project, which is scheduled to be completed around the end of the summer.

Six full and part-time customer service positions will be created in the new branch, and the Society is now beginning the process of recruiting locally for them.

The new Barnard Castle branch will take the number of Newcastle Building Society branches across the North East and Cumbria up to 28, and will be its fifth branch in County Durham.

In recent years, the Society has delivered its services in Barnard Castle through a partnership with local accountancy practice, Allen Sykes Chartered Accountants, and it will continue to do so until the new branch opens in September.

Stuart Miller, customer director at Newcastle Building Society, said: “We’ve found an ideal, easily-accessible space right in the centre of Barnard Castle for our new branch and can’t wait to open our doors to local customers.

“While many other financial institutions are closing branches across the North East, including in Barnard Castle, we are convinced the high street has an important long-term role to play at the heart of our communities.

“Being physically present in our towns is part of our wider approach to exploring ways we can help those who may be struggling to access the financial services they need.

“By contributing to the vitality of successful, sustainable local communities, we believe we can develop a bright future, hand in hand with local people.”

The Society recently announced it would launch two new community hub branches, in Hawes in North Yorkshire and in Wooler in Northumberland.