THE St Ives branch of building society Halifax is to close.

THE St Ives branch of building society Halifax is to close. The premises, in Station Road, are run as an independent agency, not a full branch, providing only a limited range of services.

The decision to close the branch was taken by the Lloyds Banking Group, which owns the Halifax brand, following an announcement from a year-long review, which will eventually bring an end to independent agencies.

The closure of the St Ives branch, which is run by Thomas Morris Estate Agents, will be a blow to account holders living in the town.

Karen Neale, 45, of Hill Rise, told The Hunts Post she was shocked to discover the branch was closing.

"I went to use the hole in the wall - but it was gone. I went inside and asked where it was and the lady told me: 'They've taken it away.They're taking everything away.We're being closed.'

"It was the first I knew about it. My husband and I have had our current accounts with Halifax for 15 years and our savings for 40 years. We need to access the branch regularly and it just isn't going to be convenient going to Huntingdon."

A spokesman for the Lloyds Banking Group said: "Following a strategic review, we announced the difficult decision that independent agencies are no longer part of our business model.

"We have written to all customers who use the St Ives agency to inform them of the location of their nearest Halifax branch and provide information on alternative options.

"We do understand that location is important. Halifax customers will be able to access a range of services at the Post Office on Market Hill or, if it is more convenient, we would be happy to support them in moving their accounts to Lloyds TSB on The Pavement in St Ives."

Thomas Morris said it could confirm that the branch was to close, but added that it could not to comment further as the firm was still under contract with Halifax.

It was not known whether the closure, on November 10, would result in job losses.