Building work is to take place at a North Yorkshire library next month to provide new banking facilities as part of a drive to ensure financial services remain in the community.
The project in Knaresborough will see a new community branch of the Newcastle Building Society created within the library building, in the latest phase of a project that has already seen access to financial services boosted elsewhere in the county.
North Yorkshire County Council’s executive member for libraries, Cllr Greg White, said: “We can’t wait for the community branch to open which will offer the Society’s full range of services. We are sure it’ll prove popular with those who need access to cash, and is a great way of multi-purposing an already well-used building.
“The offer will increase footfall into the library and encourage new visitors through the doors. It’s been a great collaborative project which aims to plug the gap for much-needed financial facilities in Knaresborough.”
A full closure of the library is required to facilitate the works. The library will close at 5pm on Wednesday, June 8, and is scheduled to reopen at 9.30am on Saturday, June 11.
The nearest alternative libraries are Harrogate Library and Starbeck Community Library. Customers can browse, reserve and renew items and access their library account online at www.northyorks.gov.uk/libraries or via the library app.
Since the last bank in Knaresborough closed in 2021, North Yorkshire County Council and Harrogate Borough Council have worked closely with the Society to maintain local access to financial services.
Along with supporting Newcastle Building Society, Harrogate Borough Council has also worked with Barclays to bring their mobile banking service to the historic market town.
Cllr Graham Swift, Harrogate Borough Council’s deputy leader and cabinet member for resources, enterprise and economic development, said: “The issues regarding banking availability in Knaresborough have been well documented, and Harrogate Borough Council has pushed hard to seek a solution.
“The opening of a new bank is fantastic news and I would once again like to thank North Yorkshire County Council and Newcastle Building Society for helping provide this vital lifeline for the residents of Knaresborough.
“I hope local residents use this service in Knaresborough Library as much as possible in the future.”
This will be Newcastle Building Society’s 31st branch across the North East, North Yorkshire and Cumbria, following the successful launch of two rural community branches in Hawes and Wooler in Northumberland, which opened in February 2020.
Stuart Fearn, head of customer contact at Newcastle Building Society, said: “We’re continuing to make great progress on our plans for a brand new community branch in Knaresborough to help restore access to face-to-face financial services in the town.
“As well as providing a new service for residents, there are also some wonderful opportunities to join the Society as a colleague. We’ve got full and part-time roles available as well as a great training programme for those with or without experience as we look to become a long-term part of this vibrant community.”